Hockey fans and players alike took a deep breath when they saw the horrible injury suffered by Florida Panthers right wing Richard Zednik on Sunday.
In the third period of yesterday’s Florida-Buffalo game at HSBC Arena, a quirky play near the net resulted in Zednik’s throat being accidentally cut by teammate Olli Jokinen’s skate blade. Zednik amazingly skated himself to the bench for treatment, leaving behind a terrifying trail of blood.
Zednik was rushed to a local hospital where surgery was performed and he is now listed in stable condition.
It was a scary reminder of what can happen in a game where players moving at 25 mph are mixed with 90-plus mph slap shots, one-piece graphite sticks and sharp steel skate edges.
“It was really scary,” said Milan Michalek. “I was watching it. You know something like that can happen, but you can’t think about it.”
Injuries like this don’t occur often, but in fast physical sports like ice hockey, they can be very dangerous when they do occur.
Craig Rivet has witnessed some scary plays in his career. When he was with Montreal, he saw teammate Trent McCleary’s career end when he got hit in the neck with a puck while blocking a shot in a game, causing his throat to collapse. He also needed several operations to repair the damage.
Zednik’s injury also affected Rivet in a personal way.
“I played with Richard for seven or eight years in Montreal,” said Rivet. “I lived three doors down from him in Montreal. It hit home a little more.”
What was truly impressive was that Zednik skated to the bench under his own power.
“I’m shocked he was able to get to the bench as quickly as he did,” said Rivet. “It was extremely smart on his part.”
Not all the Sharks had seen the video clip yet, but it still made an impact.
“I heard it was pretty dangerous,” said Marc-Edouard Vlasic
In the United States youth leagues, many players are now wearing a protective Kevlar collar or an undershirt with that collar and Kevlar on the wrists to reduce the chances of getting accidently cut by a skate.
“This was an accident, but it’s in our game,” said Rivet. “It’s a freak accident you hope will never happen.” SHORT CENTERS
The Sharks held practice on Monday without Captain Patrick Marleau
or Joe Thornton
on the ice.
“Joe was feeling a little under the weather,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “It’s just a day off and he’ll be back tomorrow. He’s been battling the flu a long time.”
Marleau did not play after the first period in Saturday’s victory over Nashville.
Wilson noted following Monday’s practice that he did not expect Marleau to miss any time.NEXT GAME
The Sharks will play hosts to Calgary Tuesday night at HP Pavilion and limited tickets are available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com
. The contest will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.