Canadiens' Zednik out of ICU as teams face Game 5

Saturday, April 27, 2002

MONTREAL -- Richard Zednik of the Montreal Canadiens, knocked unconscious by a blow to the face by Boston's Kyle McLaren, has a severe concussion, broken nose, bruised throat and a cut on the right eyelid.

The Slovak winger was moved out of the Montreal General Hospital's intensive care unit Friday morning, but will remain hospitalized until today for observation, a team spokesman said.

He was admitted Thursday night after lying motionless on the ice for five minutes following an elbow from McLaren late in the game.

Zednik is not expected to play again during the NHL playoffs, the club said. It is the second concussion of his career, the first coming when he was with the Washington Capitals.

His injury prompted an angry reaction from Canadiens fans.

"Habs Outgunned, Outgooned" was the banner headline in the Montreal Gazette, while the Journal de Montreal called the game, which Boston won 5-2 to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2, a "vicious and disgraceful match."

The teams play again today.

Zednik was taken off the ice on a stretcher. Fights ensued and an irate Montreal coach Michel Therrien threatened retaliation against the Bruins' top players in Game 5 today in Boston.

"If they try to go after our best players, if that's part of (Boston coach Robbie) Ftorek's strategy, we have no choice -- we'll go after theirs," said Therrien, red-faced with anger after the game.

When asked if his threat will only escalate the violence, Therrien said: "I don't care. This is what they did and this is what we're going to do."

Adding enforcement

On Friday, the Canadiens called in some muscle from their AHL affiliate in Quebec City. Matt O'Dette, a 6-foot-5, 221-pound defenseman, had 136 penalty minutes, along with seven goals and an assist, in 48 games with the Citadelles this season.

Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe said Friday's hit was clean.

"I think he was out before he hit the ice," Dafoe said. "It was a hard hit, but I don't think it was dirty. Kyle wasn't headhunting out there."

Bruins assistant GM Jeff Gorton told the Boston Herald, "We just watched the replay 10 times. I hope the kid is OK. But it was a clean hit. McLaren hit him with his tricep.

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