Former Montreal Canadiens winger and Florida Panthers player Richard Zednik left Sunday's game against the Buffalo Sabres during the third period after teammate Olli Jokinen's right skate clipped his neck.
As Jokinen was being checked by Buffalo's Clarke MacArthur, the captain's skate raised up and caught Zednik trailing the play.
Zednik, who bled profusely from his neck, was able to skate toward his bench where he was met by assistant athletic trainer Dave Zenobi and immediately ushered to the locker room.
Zednik is listed as stable and was transported to a hospital where he immediately underwent surgery.
The game was delayed for more than 15 minutes as the blood was cleaned off the ice.
The play brought back uncomfortable memories in Buffalo, of when then Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk had his jugular sliced in a 1989 game against the St. Louis Blues.
The incident is the second career threatening injury Zednik has suffered. While with Montreal in 2002, Zednik was coldcocked by the elbow of Bruins defenseman Kyle McLaren and he was never quite the player afterwards.
Zednik had been playing his best hockey since leaving Montreal two seasons ago, and had just registered a hat trick last week. This time, with this unfortunate incident, it is more than a simple hockey career that is at stake.
Canadiens fans, unite with hockey fans everywhere to wish Zednik the most complete recovery possible.
From another site:
The incident happened in Buffalo which is odd. We actually remember Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk having a terrible accident when a players skate cut his throat in Buffalo as well.
Malarchuk actually survived the incident to play again. As for Zednik the early reports are he is in stable condition at a Buffalo hospital.Below is the ESPN report on Clint Malarchuk. This accident took place in 1989 and Malarchuk was saved by his trainer, a Vietnam Vet is we remember, who rushed on the ice and kept Clint alive. Malarchuk not only lived but was able to play again.
Here is the TSN report on the injury:
With the Sabres leading 4-3 midway through the third period, linemate Ollie Jokinen - who was being checked in the Sabres' zone - fell forward and his skate accidently flew up and caught the right side of Zednik's neck.
Zednik bled profusely from the cut but was able to skate toward his bench where he was met by the trainer and immediately ushered to the locker room.
''It is super scary whenever you get contact with an ice skate,'' said Panthers coach Jacques Martin. ''It was a good decision on his part to skate towards the bench. I think that saved some time and our trainers were right there to put pressure on it.''
Panthers defenceman Steve Montador recalled seeing Zednik in a state of shock as he got to the bench.
''He looked pale, he was obviously standing and to a degree, coherent. But he didn't look as focused as you or I right now. He was staring at nothing,'' Montador said. ''That's a pretty brave guy to realize what's going on: Grab your neck and get off the ice.''
Players, coaches and fans sat in silence after the accident, and the game was delayed for 15 minutes as the blood was cleaned off the ice. Fans gave a standing ovation after the public address announcer gave the update on Zednik's condition.
''We shouldn't have finished the game,'' Jokinen said. ''I saw the replay, that it was my skate that hit him in the throat. I think we were all in shock. I've never seen anything like that. There are bigger things than (finishing the game). It was terrifying.
''I didn't think anyone on our team was thinking hockey out there after an injury like that. If it was my call, I would have gone to the hospital with him.''
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said he too wouldn't have been against the game being stopped.
''I don't know if there is a right answer, I don't know. I can fully understand if they wanted to cancel the whole game,'' Ruff said.
''It was pretty solemn. There wasn't a lot being said. There was just more concern for Richard than anything else. When you see something like that, it isn't about playing anymore. But I said, we're going to finish the game and it's going to be what it's going to be.''
Prior to resuming the game, referee Bill McCreary and Martin consulted in the tunnel outside the Panthers' dressing room while Sabres general manager Darcy Regier was seen talking with NHL vice president Colin Campbell, who was at HSBC Arena to watch his son Gregory play for the Panthers.
After the game, a Panthers spokesman said the team made arrangements to have Zednik's wife Jessica fly to Buffalo on Sunday night. Also, assistant general manager Randy Sexton and assistant trainer Dave Zenobi are remaining in Buffalo to be with Zednik.
Zednik, 32, signed a two-year deal with the Panthers last summer. The native of Slovakia has played in 12 NHL seasons with the Panthers, New York Islanders, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens.
He has 15 goals and 26 points this season.