Nearly 20 years after the city of Buffalo watched in horror as the skate of St. Louis Blues
forward Steve Tuttle
collided with the throat of Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk
, a similar scenario unfolded at HSBC Arena on Sunday night.
forward Richard Zednik
was rushed to a Buffalo hospital after the skate blade of teammate Olli Jokinen
struck the side of Zednik’s neck. Blood gushed out as Zednik raced to the Panthers’ bench, where he was immediately attended to by Florida trainer Dave Zenobi. Zednik was undergoing surgery on Sunday night.
The game was delayed for more than 15 minutes as the zamboni was needed to help clean the blood from the ice.
“The fact that he had the sense to come over to the bench and not waste any time allowed our trainer to give him attention,” Martin said. “I thought the medical team here in Buffalo was quick to react. As soon as he got into the dressing room, I think they were able to stabilize him and stop the bleeding, which was probably crucial.”
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 Zenobi were going to stay behind to be with Zednik.
Referee Bill McCreary consulted with Martin and NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations
Colin Campbell in the tunnel leading to the Panthers’ locker room, where Martin admitted there was thought to postponing the remainder of the game. But an announcement was made shortly thereafter that Zednik was in stable condition and was in transit to a local hospital, which drew a classy, standing ovation from the Buffalo crowd.
Campbell was in the building because his son, Gregory Campbell, plays forward for the Panthers.
“I think there was some consideration,” Martin said. “I guess the fact that he was stable and under medical care was the information relayed to us and we finished the game.”
Martin said he was unable to see the play unfold from the Panthers’ bench. Players from both teams appeared to be dazed while play was suspended.
“I didn’t see it being close to the boards,” Martin said. “I was told it was a skate of one of our players. The only thing we knew then was that he was being looked after by the doctor. He was conscious and he was on his way to the hospital.”
Once play resumed, the Panthers came out on the losing end of a 5-3 decision. Thoughts quickly shifted back to Zednik’s condition, as Martin said members of the Panthers’ medical staff would remain in Buffalo until more information could be retrieved.
“We’ll just wait and see from the doctor,” Martin said. “We’ll leave somebody behind until his family gets here. We’ll wait for further information from our trainer who went to the hospital with him.
“It’s a scary moment that you never wish to see,” Martin added. “Hopefully he’s in good care with the doctor in the hospital.”
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.