BUFFALO, N.Y. (Feb. 10) - Florida Panthers goalie Thomas Vokoun saw fear in Richard Zednik's ashen face when his teammate reached the bench with blood gushing from his throat.
"He was very scared," Vokoun said, describing the frightening scene after the right side of Zednik's throat was accidentally sliced by teammate Olli Jokinen's skate during a game at Buffalo on Sunday night. "He was conscious, I guess. His eyes were closed, but he was moving and moaning."
As the Panthers traveled home to south Florida following a 5-3 loss, the team announced Zednik was stable and resting comfortably at Buffalo General Hospital after having surgery to close the gash that led the forward to leave a long trail of blood on the ice.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Zednik was hurt with 9:56 left in the third period in the right corner of the Sabres zone.
Zednik was circling the net behind the play and skating into the corner just when Jokinen was upended by Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur. Jokinen fell headfirst to the ice, and his right leg flew up and struck Zednik directly on the side of the neck.
Clutching his neck, Zednik somehow had the capacity to race the three-quarters length of the ice to the Panthers bench, where he nearly fell into the arms of trainer Dave Zenobi, who immediately placed a towel on the player's throat. With the help of defenseman Jassen Cullimore, Zednik was escorted up the tunnel behind the Panthers bench and loaded into an ambulance.
Jokinen was sickened when he watched the replay and learned it was his skate that caused the cut, leaving the Panthers' captain in no mood to continue playing.
"We shouldn't have finished the game," Jokinen said. "I saw the replay, that it was my skate that hit him in the throat. I think we were all in shock. I've never seen anything like that. There are bigger things than (finishing the game). It was terrifying.