Monday, 11 February 2008

Godspeed Richard Zednik

Hockey is a dangerous sport, and it certainly goes without saying that people get hurt. Whether it be self-inflicted injuries or hits that put players on the shelf, there's no question that hockey has seen some gruesome injuries. I personally witnessed blood squirting from Keith Tkachuk's arm after someone's skate sliced the winger's arm open during his time in Winnipeg. Gruesome? Oh yeah. The image has remained with me to this day. Last night, another horrifying injury was caught by cameras.

Richard Zednik of the Florida Panthers, skating behind the net towards the scrum in the corner, gets clipped by Olli Jokinen's skate. I'll let the video do the talking.

That is a horrifying incident.

What makes this seem like deja vu is the fact that Buffalo fans witnessed something similar on March 22, 1989 when Steve Tuttle and Uwe Krupp got tangled up going to the Buffalo net. Clint Malarchuk held his ground for a few seconds.

Again, that's horrifying.

Malarchuk's life was saved by Jim Pizzutelli, ATC, the team's athletic trainer and a former army medic who had served in Vietnam, who reached into Malarchuk's neck and pinched off the bleeding, not letting go until doctors arrived to begin suturing the wound. Without Mr. Pizzutelli's fast thinking, Malarchuk may have been the second on-ice fatality.

300 stitches and four days later, Malarchuk was back on the ice for practice. One week later, he was between the pipes for a game against the Quebec Nordiques. I can only hope that Richard Zednik, who is in stable condition in a Buffalo hospital, makes that kind of speedy recovery.

Godspeed, Mr. Zednik. The game of hockey can wait. Your health is far more important to yourself and your family.

Until next time, keep your sticks (and skates) on the ice!

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