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Hey Hey, Ho Ho, It's Buffalo: Florida Panthers @ Buffalo Sabres ... Thursday Night LIVE! ... Richard Zednik's Return ... Michael Repik UP and IN ... Service Charge = Raising Ticket Prices

181 BUFFALO -- Good afternoon hockey fans and welcome back to Miami Herald Hockey Central where I will soon be charging each person a nickel to come here and get their hockey and goofy picture fix.

Yes, I do accept Canadian nickels.

Sunny but cold day in Buffalo today, the wind whipping around like this was February or something. Had a typical Buffalo lunch -- mineral water and a grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side -- and then went over to the ballpark to check out the new Buffalo Bison gear. Yes, I got a hat.

-- Pete DeBoer says Michael Repik (recalled from Rochester today) will indeed be on the fourth line, DeBo saying he wanted to add some speed and skill to the lineup. Anthony Stewart or Nick Tarnasky will be scratched. DeBo makes some good points about bringing up Repik. First, he's having a very good year in Roch and deserves a chance. Second, by bringing him up, DeBo can slide him up and mix him up with other lines later in a game a whole lot easier than he can with Nick or Stewart.

-- Richard Zednik was swarmed by his cubical at the Buffalo rink today, so many reporters crowding around that neighbors Cory Stillman and Radek Dvorak walked around looking for something else to do. Stillman was checking out the press notes as if they were the Daily Racing Form. I wanted to offer him a pencil and ask who he liked in the fourth race at Pimlico. Personally, I like the 3-7-2 in that one.

As I told you earlier, Zednik popped onto the ice, skated over almost to the exact spot where he got clipped by Olli last year, braked, then skated back to the Florida bench. Very eerie. He says that was not done on purpose, he was just warming up.

More from Richard once I transcribe the tape.

This is from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News who spoke to Richard on the phone yesterday:

Ryan Miller –


What do you remember?: ”It was weird. It happened in the corner to my left, and I saw the whole thing develop. I saw the skate coming up, and it was like, “”Did that really just happen?’’ It was the reaction on his face before I saw the blood. I thought, “”He might be in trouble.’’


“”I remember staring at him as the puck went up the ice. If someone on their team had the puck, they would have had a good chance of scoring because I was just staring at him and looking for a referee. He was bleeding out. I was trying to get someone’s attention. I was like, “”I can’t believe that happened.’’


Did you see a look on his face of horror? “”He brought his hand up right when he got hit. I saw him do that, take a quick look around and bolt. I saw where the skate was going to hit.

 “”A lot of nights in hockey, last night I was watching a game and Wideman following Gomez, and his face was right next to a skate. I’m like, “”Oh, no.’’ Gomez even took a stride and it came right near his cheek.’’


Brian Campbell said the blood hitting the ice it sounded like a bucket of water on a driveway. Did you hear it? “”Did you notice? There were 18,000 people who went dead quiet. There was the initial gasp and then, nothing. Pominville came over to talk to me and had to skate over the trail of blood. We were all just waiting. They had clean up. Was he going to be OK? What are they doing? Are we going to keep playing?

“”I remember asking Pominville, “”Are we going to keep playing after this? I mean, this is terrible.’’ You look in the corner and all the way to the bench and see [the blood].. It was amazing how much and how bright it was.

“”I remember getting on one knee and saying, “”I can’t believe that just happened. I hope he’s OK.’’ That’s when it hit us. Obviously, it was a major artery or vein or something. We didn’t know what it was. It started hitting me at that moment: he could die.You don’t think about that in sport. Even when something bad happens – a guy gets hit hard or something – he’s going to get up''


Even when he doesn’t, you’re not thinking death – ”You don’t ever want to see someone get hurt. But when you see someone get laid out or something, you think it’s just something minor. This one, it was pretty apparent.’’


Dr. Robert McCormack – emergency room at Buffalo General Hosp


“”Everybody, including him, knew the severity of it and the time sensitiveness of it. There was not a minute, literally not a minute, to waste. The fact that he kept his composure and got himself off the ice made a huge difference. He knew this was a mortal wound. It was a huge, huge factor in him surviving this injury.

“”And, really, we’re talking about survival here. If things had gone wrong, he would have died. There’s no gray area here. “”We’re talking minutes being the difference between life and death here – minutes. For someone in emergency medicine, I don’t say that lightly.I can count on two hands where it’s a matter of minutes that somebody will die if something isn’t done right.’’


“”Even if he wasn’t an NHL player, it was a tremendously challenging case that had a great outcome. It would have been memorable in itself.’’


Richard Zednik –

“”It’s a big game [today]. We’re battling for the playoffs, and Buffalo is, too. That’s my thoughts. I’m preparing for the game tomorrow.’’


“”It happened. I know what happened, but it’s not something I keep in my mind. I’ve come here so many times, and nothing ever happened to me. I’m trying to focus on the game. Maybe, when I come to the locker room or go on the ice, it’s going to be different. But right now, I’m not thinking about what happened.’’


“”I was lucky. I couldn’t believe it when I was talking to all [medical] people about the process. Everybody was in the right place at the right second. Every second and every minute was counting. Everybody was ready to help me. I’m glad for that, that I can be here and playing in the game [today].’’

-- Since Goldie and the boys are back home, will go LIVE! from the press box at the Aud II tonight. Come on back around 6:45 and we should have this thing cranking in high gear. Could even have a special edition of the Goldie Report. Haven't asked him yet. But if he's home watching, sure he'll have time for his pals.

-- Have also been getting some reports from disgruntled season ticket holders who are happy the Panthers didn't technically raise the price of playoff tickets. Said ticket holders are a little ticked the team added a $7 per seat, per game ''service charge'' to those tickets, however.

I'm putting in a call now to Michael Yormark.

If the Panthers are charging a ''service fee'' to tickets that never had a ''service fee'' before, well, that's raising the price of playoff tickets. No bones about that one.