February 11, 2008

A frightening moment

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

While I’m sure that not many people tuned into watch the Florida Panthers play against the Buffalo Sabres yesterday but there was a moment that would’ve created quite the stir to those who saw it.

Panthers captain Olli Jokinen went into the corner in an attempt to hit Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur but something went awry; Jokinen missed his target, was upended and his skate came up and sliced teammate Richard Zednik in the right side of his neck. Blood started pouring out while Zednik clutched his neck and raced to the Panthers’ bench where a trainer helped him off the ice. He was taking to a local hospital where surgery was needed to close the wound.

The bigger question here isn’t about players’ safety and brutal injuries, it’s about whether or not they should have finished the game. I find it ridiculous that after watching a fellow player, friend and teammate (for the Panthers) suffer a possible life-threatening injury they had to continue playing a hockey game. Could their minds and thoughts possibly be anywhere except with Zednik at the time? Even worse, the players, coaches and fans had to endure a 15-minute break while the ice had to be scraped clean of all the blood that had stained it. How could anyone continue playing a game after that?

It’s not like a game postponement is out of the ordinary after something like this. When Detroit’s Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench after his heart failed and was revived, the game was discontinued until a later day. Why couldn’t this have happened after Zednik’s blood stained the ice? It really makes no sense.

The fact that NHL vice president Colin Campbell was at the game and witnessed this whole scene happen doesn’t inspire confidence in the league either. How could a high up guy like that not ice the game to hold up some league integrity?

Ultimately, if the Panthers fail to reach the playoffs by one or two points, which they could have achieved by winning last night’s game (The Sabres won 5-3 and scored after the incident), they can look back at last night in Buffalo as to why they’re golfing early.

Leave a Reply