Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik appears to have escaped a near fatal on-ice accident Sunday night.
Zednik took linemate's Olli Jokinen's skate to his neck. As of this publishing time, details are still quite sketchy but the incident resulted in a serious laceration followed by a significant loss of blood.
Zednik immediately rushed to the bench where trainers and back-room medical staff were able to stabilize him and stop the loss of blood before he was taken to hospital where he immediately underwent surgery.
By all reports the stadium was eerily quiet during a 15 minute stoppage, as everyone feared the worst. After it was announced that Zednik had been stabilized and was taken to hospital, the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers opted to finish the game, although you have to think no one was terribly interested in the contest.
As freaky as this accident is, you really have to wonder how this doesn't actually happen more often.
This of course will draw parallels with the Clint Malarchuk injury 19 years ago. Malarchuk was a pretty good goalie in the 1980s, but unfortunately Malarchuk is best remembered for one of the most horrific injuries in all of hockey. Tragedy first struck on March 22, 1989 when his jugular vein was cut by a skate. A goal mouth collision involving St. Louis Blues winger Steve Tuttle and Buffalo defenseman Uwe Krupp saw Tuttle's skate slice Malarchuk's neck. Malarchuk clutched at his bloody neck as doctors were rushed on to the ice to save his life. As it turned out he spent only one night in the hospital and competed in the NHL only a couple of weeks later. But it could have been so much worse - perhaps even fatal.
Borje Salming also had his face stepped on by a skate, resulting in 81 stitches, though his life was reportedly never in immediate danger. Donald Audette also had his wrist stepped on.
It was also 40 years ago this year that the NHL saw its only death on the ice. Helmetless Minnesota North Stars forward Bill Masterton hit his head on the ice following a hard but clean bodycheck. Masterton was immediately knocked out cold, and never regained consciousness. For more than 30 hours doctors managed to keep him alive using respirators but the massive internal brain injuries were too immense. Early in the morning of January 15th, 1968, Masterton died.
Between the physical nature of the sport and particularly considering the razor sharp skates and frozen rubber bullets that travel 100 mph, it is truly amazing that there isn't more scary incidents like these.