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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play for Barons on Sunday

By Mike Baldwin Published: October 27, 2012
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Barons center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who left Friday's game after getting hit in the mouth with a stick, participated in practice Saturday morning and will play in Sunday afternoon's game against the Texas Stars.

Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, had an upper front tooth chipped and another pushed back.

“I didn't think I'd be able to keep it to be honest with you,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “(The dentist) said he could reposition them. ... It was an accident. He didn't mean to do it on purpose.”

Nugent-Hopkins, 19, will wear a full face mask hockey players refer to as a “cheese grater” or “cage.” He last regularly wore a full face mask at age 15 in midgets with the Vancouver Northwest Giants.

“It restricts you a little bit, but once you get used to it, you learn to live with it,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “Obviously you grew up playing with them.”

Opponents have played physically against the Edmonton Oilers' young stars that are playing with the Barons during the lockout.

“It is chippier down here (in the American Hockey League),” Nugent-Hopkins said. “You just have to play around that kind of stuff.”