Monday, February 11, 2008

In Response To The Richard Zednik Incident

By now I'm sure everyone has seen the video of Richard Zednik getting his neck cut by teammate Olli Jokinen's skate. It's pretty gruesome stuff and I have no intention of embedding or linking to it here (it's not hard to find if you're looking.) I do have a lot on my mind regarding what happened to Zednik though so I'm just going to lay it all out and let you all do with it what you will.

  • First and foremost, prayers go out to Zednik and his family. It looks like he is going to make a full recovery. I'm sure playing hockey is the furthest thing from his mind right now, but I'm hoping he makes it back. If for nothing else than the ovation he should get when he hits the ice again for the first time.
  • Hats off to the medical staff involved for keeping their cool and tending to Zednik. I don't care what the doctors are saying now, they saved Zednik's life.
  • I really don't think they should have finished the game. There were only 10 minutes left in the third. The NHL could have easily called it an official game at that point and nobody would have batted an eye. I really feel for the guys who had to go out and play after seeing Zednik go down.
  • How amazing is it that Zednik got himself all the way to the bench? Zednik's composure and toughness were off the charts.
  • Did this really have to happen in Buffalo?
  • Sabre's announcer Rick Jeanneret did a superb job of handling the call. I really can't stand the way Jeanneret calls a game, but you could really feel how hard it was for him to watch this situation go down, let alone have to talk everyone through it. You could tell from his voice that he was reliving the Malarchuk accident all over again and that he was really wishing he wasn't. It was genuinely hard to listen to him, but he handled it like a pro.
  • Finally, I'm sure there are going to be people crying for mandatory neck guards on players after this. I'm so against this I can't even tell you. The players shouldn't be forced into wearing an uncomfortable and unnecessary piece of equipment because of a freak accident. I got hit in the neck with a skate once when I was playing Midget hockey (didn't amount to much more than a nasty scratch) and after I got the thought of "Whoa, that could have been bad." out of my head, at no point did I think I should start wearing a neck guard. They aren't worth the trouble and discomfort, and I'm not even convinced one would have prevented what happened to Richard Zednik. I don't actually think the NHL will actually consider making neck guards mandatory (if for no other reason than how uncool they look), but I just know the issue is going to come up.

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