When sticks catch a player up high, the result can sometimes be ugly, but nothing can compare to how frightening injuries can be when an errant skate blade comes up and comes in contact with a player’s head or neck.
During KHL action Sunday, former NHLer Ladislav Nagy, now playing for Slovan in the KHL, was involved in a horrifying incident when his skate came up and sliced Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk’s Vitaly Sitnikov. Early in the third period of the contest, Nagy had cut into the middle of the ice and fired a shot on goal when his skates collided with Sitnikov’s stick. The stick in Nagy’s skates caused him to fall forwards, which sent his feet into the air and made his right skate shoot upwards into Sitnikov’s throat.
Sitnikov immediately threw off his gloves and skated for the bench. Thankfully, the Yugra medical staff was quick to react:
(Warning: The injury is gruesome and some blood is shown in the video.)
Sitnikov was stretchered off the ice and taken back to the dressing room, and post-game Yugra coach Paul Ezovskih told the team’s website that, thankfully, Sitnikov would recover. “Vitaly had the surgery and everything sewn up,” Ezovskih said. “Now everything is fine.”
There is no report on when Sitnikov, 34, will be able to return to action, but the good news is that it sounds as if he’ll make a full recovery. Sitnikov has played the past five seasons with Yugra, and over his 347-game KHL career has 58 goals and 147 points.
The injury to Sitnikov was not unlike two of the most horrifying incidents in NHL history, which came on similar skate cuts involving Buffalo Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk and, years later, Florida Panthers winger Richard Zednik. Both men were cut in the neck area by skate blades, and both were fortunate to recover from the injuries.