Richard Zednik, middle, is helped to the bench by Jassen Cullimore (22) while a trainer tends to his wound. ((John Hickey/Associated Press))

Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik, recovering from a serious neck gash, could be released from a Buffalo hospital by Saturday.

Zednik, who almost had his carotid artery severed in a game against the Sabres last Sunday, is showing significant improvement, said Dr. Sonya Noor on Thursday.

Noor performed emergency surgery after Zednik's neck was cut open in the third period when teammate Olli Jokinen was upended and his right foot skate went into Zednik's path.

Moments later, Zednik kneeled forward with his hands at his throat, blood coming from his neck. He made his way to the bench, where trainers and teammates helped him.

Zednik lost five units of blood in the gruesome accident, but was upgraded to good condition on Wednesday.

Zednik's condition has improved so much that Noor granted a special treat — Buffalo's famed chicken wings.

"He asked if he could eat Buffalo chicken wings," Noor said. "So we let him."
A restaurant donated wings and pizza for Zednik, his wife and nurses at Buffalo General Hospital."

The Panthers forward is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

With files from the Associated Press