Denis Sokolov is a 35-year-old defenseman for Yekaterinburg Automobilist of the KHL, in his 17th season as a professional player in Russia.
He's also lucky. Really, really lucky.
In a game between Yekaterinburg and Traktor Chelyabinsk on Sunday, Sokolov's carotid artery was sliced open by the skate of former NHL journeyman (and blog inspiration) Jan Bulis — leaving a pool of blood on the ice as he quickly left for medical attention.
The incident begins at the 1:14 mark in case the video doesn't automatically roll there:
So how is Sokolov doing after soaking the ice with his plasma? Hint: He's a hockey player. 'Twas merely a flesh wound.
According to Sport Aktualne, a Czech site, Sokolov lost nearly a pint of blood when Bulis' skate clipped him at the start of the third period. Sokolov and Bulis were chasing the puck when Sokolov fell to the ice; Bulis attempted to hurdle him and continue the play, when his skate slashed Sokolov's face as he appeared to step on him.
Sokolov said he expects to miss his team's next game against Dynamo Moscow on Friday but will be back for the Sept. 20 match against Khanty-Mansiysk. Because that's what hockey players do.
Again, your word of the day, kids: "lucky."
Carotid artery and "skate slash" conjures some ghastly memories of Richard Zednik losing five pints of blood — but, thankfully, not his life — in a 2008 incident involving Florida Panthers teammate Olli Jokinen.
That accident sparked a debate about player safety -- please recall the Great Neckguard Hysteria of 2008 -- as all accidents do in the National Hockey League. But the Sokolov horror show is just another example of the unavoidable danger of playing a high-speed game with Ginzu knives under your feet. These things happen, and thank the Hockey Gods it wasn't more horrific.