I had a strange feeling that one day this sort of thing would've happened to an NHL player & sadly that fear came when an innocent looking stumble in the near right corner of the rink at Mellon Arena didn't look so innocent any more. It was only 2:24 into the first period as the Rangers were looking for their first win this season against the Penguins and the start of the game looked pretty good. Michael Del Zotto was defending against Evgeni Malkin who had the puck and suddenly both men fell down (Malkin first, then Del Zotto).
Right away you saw Del Zotto in pain and holding his left side after falling on top of Malkin's legs and skates. Probably many of you thought it was a hard landing and that it caught him in a bad angle where the shoulder pads don't reach. Possibly the wind was knocked out of him and when medical trainer Jim Ramsey got to him fast to see how he was. After a few brief minutes talking to Jim Ramsey, Del Zotto was able to get up on and skate off on his own power. But when the close up shot was directed, we all saw that it was a lot worse than originally thought.
Michael Del Zotto's jersey had blood on his left side just abovehis hockey pants and below the shoulder pads. Thankfully he was able to get treatment inside the trainers room and an amazingly fifty stitches were used to close up that nasty gash he suffered. Thankfully a major nerve or artery wasn't severed and the injury wasn't that serious. But what would've happened if Del Zotto did bleed to death on the Mellon Arena Ice? This is where I blame the NHL and Reebok for creating these new form fitting & sweat resistant jerseys that are suppose to help enhance the performence on the ice. The material is so disgustingly thin it's so amazing that with today's NHL there hasn't been more skate blade slicing incidents on the ice.
The third NHL season after the lockout is when these new jerseys were first warn and I had the ability to visit a friend that worked in Gerry Cosby's. I felt the material and I was disgusted. I couldn't believe that the league would force the players to wear these new hockey jerseys. I might be considered a throwback kinda guy, but I believe that real tradition should return to the NHL. Wooden Sticks, Throw out the instigator rule, and bring back the real hockey jerseys (no not the old sweaters) that makes the game so great.