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Russian team inks Panthers forward Richard Zednik to two-year deal

SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik is leaving the NHL to join the Russian league.

Russian hockey club Lokomotiv of the KHL announced Thursday it has signed Zednik to a two-year contract. Zednik had 17 goals in 70 games a season after his carotid artery was sliced by a teammate’s skate blade during a Feb. 10, 2008, game in Buffalo.

A message left for Zednik’s agent by The Associated Press was not returned. The Panthers did not comment.

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Zednik was named a finalist for the NHL’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Thursday, given in honor of the late Minnesota North Stars player. The award honors “the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

The winner will be announced June 18 in Las Vegas.