Zednik Returns to the Ice
On Tuesday, Richard Zednik returned to the ice for the first time with his Panthers teammates in un-informal workout since the tragic night he almost lost his life. Zednik told the Miami Herald that he’s “here just trying to get ready and get going;" it’s nothing short of a miracle that he is here after seeing his life flash before his eyes on that February night.
It happened in Florida when the Panthers were playing the Buffalo Sabres trying to keep their slim playoff hopes alive during the end of the 2007-08 season. Everything was going well until Zednik skated around the net only to be accidently clipped by the skate of his falling team-mate Olli Jokinen. With some sort of instant survival tactic, Zednik grabbed his neck and skated of too the bench to be aided by team trainers and was quickly rushed to the hospital. With his life on the line, doctors performed emergency surgery and after a slow recover, here he is today.
Dr. McCormack, the Panthers team doctor claimed that Zednik “really came as close to dying as one could.” Not too many know how close we came to losing Zednik as he lost close to five units of blood and seeing as how a human only has ten units, this means that half his body was not inside him.
Zednik ended up spending a week in a Buffalo hospital during a time he really wanted to be helping his team in a playoff run, but instead, he ended up with a scar that holds a painful memory.
At Florida’s practise, Zednik took to the ice wearing a neck protector making him one of, if not the only, player in the league to wear neck protection. "It feels good, it doesn't bother me at all," Zednik said in a recent interview about his new equipment, "everything feels good right now."
Which brings me to the question: should the NHL follow through following this incident and make neck protection in the league mandatory? Or how about visors?
If this law were to happen, no player would have to go through what Zednik had to go through. Hopefully the answer is yes but don’t count on it as Gary Bettman apparently has more important things to do. His obvious priorities are keeping teams from moving to Canada as oppose to worrying the actual health and safety of NHL players.
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer