One thing that distinguishes the National Hockey League from the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball is the fact that they play the game on ice. This means that the players' skates are going to come into play occasionally in such a physical sport, and not just in the case of New York Islander imbecile Chris Simon, still serving his 30-game suspension for stomping on a player's leg.
In tonight's Florida-Buffalo game, Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur checked Panthers forward Olli Jokinen. Jokinen fell head-first towards the ice and his right leg came up. The skate slashed his Florida teammate Richard Zednik in the neck. Blood was gushing from his neck as he skated to the bench holding his throat, and a trainer immediately rushed to apply pressure. Zednik was taken to a Buffalo hospital, where he's reported to be in stable condition. The game was stopped for 15 minutes as the ice was cleaned of the blood. The AP recap of the game says the final 10 minutes of the game was played with little intensity. Obviously everyone in the building -- players and spectators alike -- was shaken up by the sight. Fans in Buffalo surely remember a similar incident where a skate cut Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk almost 20 years ago.
And it's not just players who can get hurt. Just yesterday, linesman Pat Dapuzzo was cut in the face and suffered a broken nose when the skate of Philadelphia's Steve Downie flew up after he was checked along the boards by New York Rangers defenseman Fedor Tyutin.
It should be noted that when Dapuzzo went down play was stopped almost immediately and not one, not two, but three fights then broke out simultaneously. (Now that's old-time hockey!) Dapuzzo's first instinct was to get up and skate towards one of the pairs of fighters to try and break it up. ¿Quien es más macho? Pat Dapuzzo. -- Joe Guckin