Monday, February 11, 2008

Zednik Takes Skate Blade In Neck

<-- The look on the fans' faces says it all.

A freak accident led to a horrifying scene in Buffalo Sunday as the Sabres hosted the Panthers.

With 10 minutes remaining in the 3rd period and the Panthers trailing 4-3, Olli Jokinen took a hit and went awkwardly off-balance, with his right leg lifting up behind him and his skate blade slashing a gash in teammate Richard Zednik's neck on the right side. Blood immediately poured out onto the ice, but thankfully Zednik realized at that exact moment that the best thing to do was to get to the bench and visit the medical staff.

Zednik left a trail of blood from the Sabres zone to his bench, but the medical staff were able to act quickly and thankfully get the bleeding to stop.

The crowd at HSBC center sat in complete silence in awe of what had transpired before their eyes. The shock was also visible in the other players from both teams, who stood around as the game was delayed for several minutes before resuming.

Zednik's status in hospital was upgraded to stable, and a press release from a Panthers spokesman stated that Zednik had successful emergency surgery and was resting comfortably.

The two teams decided to finish the game on the decisions of coaches Lindy Ruff and Jacques Martin, and Buffalo added a goal to win 5-3; though some of the players questionned the decision to continue, such as Olli Jokinen, who stated that the incident was so frightening that he had no further intentions to play hockey. Lindy Ruff also stated that he "didn't care" about the game anymore after the incident.


- I hadn't seen the incident live, but I was able to catch the highlights on multiple televison channels. Only RDS and affiliate station RIS replayed the scene showing the blood pour from Zednik's throat, and I almost wish I hadn't seen it. The initial splash on the ice was about as big in circumference as a typical salad bowl. From now on, when I think "Richard Zednik", I will have two images in my mind: the usual elbow from Kyle McLaren in the playoffs a few years ago when he was a member of the Habs, and this. Zednik had been on a tear lately for the Panthers, notching 6 goals and 3 assists in his last four games. However, that's no longer important, as his health takes obvious precidence over any hot-streaks (or anything else for that matter). Safe to say that Richard Zednik is out indefinately as he recovers from the ghastly accident.

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