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Just over 15 months ago, Richard Zednik(notes) of the Florida Panthers had his carotid artery sliced open by a teammate's skate blade. It was a gruesome scene that shocked the hockey world and pretty much became the No. 1 reoccurring nightmare among players and their loved ones. (Just edging out a trade to the Islanders.)

In Sunday's 5-2 victory by the Detroit Red Wings over the Chicago Blackhawks, it nearly happened again.

In the second period of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Adam Burish(notes) of Chicago took a skate to the neck from teammate Ben Eager(notes) as Eager lost his balance in a tangle with a Detroit player. Burish started bleeding ... but 'twas merely a flesh wound. 

From TSN, footage from the NBC telecast of a frightening moment that thankfully didn't turn grisly:

NHL.com's Adam Kimelman spoke with Burish and Eager about the close shave:

"I don't know how I'm so darn lucky," Burish said. "It was centimeters, millimeters away from slicing (his throat)."

"I don't know how my head is still connected here," he said. "I saw his skate -- it was like he did a figure skating move and kind of whipped his skate up. I just watched it go right into my neck."

Remarkably, not only was Burish not severely injured, he didn't need stitches and didn't miss a shift. After the game, there was almost no trace of the wound. Even after nearly suffering what could have been a life-altering injury, Burish wore a smile with his neat suit; he joked that his mother watching at home would probably be more upset than he was.

No kidding, although "upset" might be putting it mildly. So does this ignite the neck guards debate again?

(Big thanks to the great Jefflered for the clip; please check out his haunt, The Faceoff Boards.)

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