We're just back from the news conference at Buffalo General Hospital and doctors there confirmed what we suspected last night -- Richard Zednik suffered what easily could have been a fatal injury in HSBC Arena.
Zednik suffered a severed carotid artery that needed to be surgically repaired as it was hanging by a thread (doctors' words, not mine). It turns out this was a very different and far more severe injury than the one that befell Clint Malarchuk at the Aud in 1989.
Somehow, nothing else was severed. How did that happen? Dr. Sonya Noor, one of the surgeons, explained it this way: "Luck."
Quick work by medical personnel in the arena, led by Sabres team physician Les Bisson, certainly saved the Florida player's life. Bisson moved from his seat in Section 105 by the Sabres bench, hustled up the tunnel, through the dressing room hallway and back up the visitors' tunnel by the Florida bench to meet Zednik. He immediately clamped on the players' throat to stop the bleeding and remove most of his fear that Zednik might die. That work allowed surgeons at Buffalo General to sew the artery together in an operation that went smoothly and only lasted about an hour.
Florida team officials have returned home to Miami. Zednik's wife is with him in the hospital and her two sisters were slated to arrive from Montreal this afternoon. Zednik is almost certainly not going to play hockey anymore this season but should return home later in the week and could resume physical activity in 6-8 weeks.
Just as with Kevin Everett, the Buffalo medical community performs some amazing work.