BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Panthers forward Richard Zednik was in stable condition at a Buffalo hospital while having surgery to close a deep gash on the right side of his neck, which was sliced by a teammate's skate during a game against the Sabres on Sunday.
Blood gushed from Zednik's neck after he was hurt midway through the third period of Buffalo's 5-3 victory, creating a frightening moment that delayed the game for about 15 minutes.
Zednik was behind the play and skating into the right corner of the Sabres' zone, when teammate Olli Jokinen was upended by Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur. Jokinen fell head-first to the ice, and his right leg flew up and struck Zednik directly on the side of the neck.
Clutching his neck, Zednik immediately raced to the Florida bench, leaving a long trail of blood. Arriving at the bench, he nearly fell into the arms of a team trainer, who quickly applied a towel to the cut. Zednik was then helped off the ice by the trainer and teammate Jassen Cullimore, and escorted immediately to the Panthers' dressing room.
Panthers spokesman Justin Copertino said Zednik was transported by ambulance to nearby Buffalo General Hospital. Copertino said the team was making arrangements to have Zednik's wife, Jessica, fly from South Florida to Buffalo by a charter flight Sunday night.
The team was scheduled to return to Miami, but assistant general manager Randy Sexton and assistant trainer Dave Zenobi were going to stay behind to be with Zednik, Copertino said.
Zednik's injury left players and coaches on both benches in shock, and a silent hush fell over the crowd at HSBC Arena.
As crews scraped the blood from the ice and the surface was cleaned by Zambonis during the extended delay, the public address announcer said: "Richard Zednik is in stable condition and on his way to a Buffalo hospital."
The crowd stood in applause during the announcement.
Prior to resuming the game, referee Bill McCreary and Panthers coach Jacques Martin consulted in the tunnel outside the Panthers' dressing room.
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier was also spotted talking with NHL vice president Colin Campbell. Campbell, the league's director of hockey operations, attended the game in part because his son, Gregory Campbell, plays for the Panthers.