Campbell on cut: 'It was horrific'

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

Brian Campbell heard the blood before he saw it.

"It was like somebody took a pail of water and dumped it on the ice," the Sabres defenceman said before boarding a flight to Ottawa yesterday. "That smack."

The noise, in fact, was the spilling of Richard Zednik's hemoglobin a split second after the skate of Panthers teammate Olli Jokinen's skate sliced his carotid artery near the jugular vein during the third period of Sunday's game against the Sabres.

Zednik, a 12-year NHL veteran, managed to pick himself up and make it to the bench. He was rushed to hospital and had surgery at Buffalo General Hospital, where he is currently listed in stable condition.

Campbell, who said players on the bench also heard the blood hit the ice, was a few feet from the accident when it occurred.

"I looked back right away ... man, it was crazy after that," recalled the former 67's star. "The whole scene, him holding his neck, skating to the bench, the amount of blood that was on the ice. It looked like somebody had brought a garden hose out there and was spraying.

"It was horrific."

15-MINUTE DELAY

The game was delayed 15 minutes while the Zamboni cleaned up the mess and witnesses tried to regroup. As players and fans waited anxiously for word on Zednik, officials from both teams and the league met to discuss whether the game should be continued.

Finally, an announcement was made over the HSBC Arena public address system when Zednik was out of danger, and play resumed.

The Sabres, who were ahead 4-3 at the time, went on to win 5-3.

Yesterday, the incident was a primary topic of discussion in the Senators' dressing room as they readied to meet the Sabres at Scotiabank Place tonight.

"I heard there was tons of blood ... that's scary," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "It would be tough to go back and play. If I had my way, I think I would rather not finish the game."

Campbell applauded the decision by arena staff to alleviate the fears of fans with an announcement -- "especially with kids in the house, but it was a huge shocker for anybody to see" -- but added that players were still uncertain of how to proceed.

"I'm glad there was only 10 minutes left to play," he said. "You go out there and think, 'Am I going to hit somebody, or do I just want to get the game over with as quick as possible?'

"Obviously, you felt bad for the guys on their team. You felt bad for Jokinen, although it wasn't his fault. I didn't think (the game) was going to go on. I didn't think the guys would want to play. It's a tough situation."

It was also an eye-opener for all players and their spouses.

When Jason Spezza turned on the TV for the replay of the mishap, his girlfriend turned away, refusing to look.

"As a player you watch it and cringe a little bit," said Spezza. "It's kind of an unspoken thing ... we just don't talk about how dangerous it can be sometimes. The fact that we're wearing sharpened blades on the ice and the game's moving fast ... it's one of those things you don't like to see happen."

The Senators doubted the incident would have players considering neck guards, like those used in minor hockey and Europe.

"I don't think it does that much," said Spezza. "You're still pretty vulnerable."

Chris Phillips agreed, adding that players don't think of the possible dangers when on the ice.

"You can't play wrapped in bubble, hoping no one gets injured," he said.

Meanwhile, the Sabres roll into Ottawa without a loss in regulation time in their last eight games.

Campbell isn't concerned the Zednik incident will prove to be a distraction that throws them off course.

"I think we've just got to regroup and put everything back in its place," he said. "It is a hockey game. That's the way you have to think of it."


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