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ZEDNIK IMPROVING

Panthers forward Richard Zednik continued his recovery, when his condition was upgraded to good and he was moved out of the intensive-care unit at Buffalo General Hospital. On Sunday a teammate's skate blade sliced the 32-year-old's neck.

Tuesday, Dr. Sonya Noor, who operated Sunday night, said she's recommending no strenuous activity for three months.

"He is awake and in good spirits," Noor said. "He has minimal neck swelling, or discomfort. He is speaking quite well. His voice is not hoarse. He's hungry. He wanted eggs for breakfast."

Noor said if Zednik can sit up and walk a few steps over the next couple days, a discharge plan will be discussed.

Also Tuesday, Blue Jackets goaltending coach Clint Malarchuk talked about when he was in goal for the Sabres on March 22, 1989, and Blues forward Steve Tuttle was flipped, his skate slicing Malarchuk's jugular vein. Malarchuk, who required 300 stitches but returned to practice four days later and played in a game less than two weeks after surgery, has this advice for Zednik: "If he asked me if he should take his time getting back, I would probably say I didn't. It's better if you get back in there because you're going to be hounded by people with questions until you do. ... I had wicked nightmares where I'd sit up straight in bed like in the movies, sweating. I'd see the skate coming up. That didn't go away right away. ... I have a hard time if I see a slasher movie.''

He added with a laugh about of his quick return: "I was also in the option year of my contract."

OILERS: Defenseman Sheldon Souray will miss the rest of the season with a left shoulder injury. He had arthroscopic surgery last week.

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