RALEIGH, N.C. – Andrew Ladd’s milestone moment tonight is being overshadowed by a gruesome one from earlier today at Winnipeg Jets’ practice.
The Jets captain will play in his 500th National Hockey League game tonight against the team that drafted him and he helped lead to a Stanley Cup when Winnipeg faces the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena (6 p.m. TSNJets/TSN 1290).
But the significance of that has been lost somewhat after Jets defenceman Zach Redmond was taken to hospital following an after-practice, on-ice incident in which an artery and vein in his right leg were sliced open by a teammate’s skate.
Redmond is recovering after three hours of surgery.
Redmond, who wears Kevlar socks, was stepped on in an area above the protection behind the knee. He underwent surgery and is now recovering, according to the agency that represents him, Norton Sports Management.
"He lost a fair bit of blood and he’s in some pain," said Noel this morning. "It looks like it’s a vein. It cut him through the sock (not the Kevlar sock)… I don’t know if it cut through the pant, but there was a fair amount of a loss of blood there quickly and we got it tied up and put pressure on it.
"He was fine, he was awake. We were talking to him, the trainers were talking to him. He was in some pain and probably a little bit shocked by what had taken place. Other than that he was coherent going into the ambulance."
Most of the team was already in the visitors’ dressing room at PNC Arena when the accident occurred. When the seriousness became evident, a number rushed back out to see what had taken place. Those who were on the ice, including Antti Miettinen and Anthony Peluso, had blood on their socks and jerseys when they did leave the ice after Redmond was taken away by ambulance.
The area where the accident occurred, right in front of the net, was covered with a considerable amount of blood.
Redmond has been impressive in his first stint in the NHL, even though he was scratched from Tuesday’s game in Buffalo and was not scheduled to be in the lineup against the Hurricanes.
It's not yet clear when he will be able to return to the ice, the Jets said in a statement.
"It’s tough on your team," said Noel. "They will be rattled. It’s a teammate and there’s not much you can say. The guys are heading back (to the hotel). It throws a wrench into your pre-game (routine) but we’ll get it solved by time we get back here and ready to go."
Meanwhile, lost in the seriousness of the Redmond accident is Ladd hitting a big number in games played: 500. And the fact it will happen here in Carolina -- where he was drafted and helped the team win its Stanley Cup – means he has come full circle.
"I guess it’s a pretty big milestone, I don’t know. When you first think about playing in the NHL all you’re worried about is playing that one game, the first game. To be able to say you’ve played 500 is pretty neat to say. There’s been a lot of great memories over that time.
"It worked out pretty good that it’s played at the place where I started. I’ve got a lot of great memories here, too, with winning a Stanley Cup and still have some great friends on that other side."