In nature, the zebra’s most feared predator is the lion. On the ice, it’s the players. Those players have been taking out zebras this season just like lions on the savannah. The most recent on-ice official to suffer an injury was referee Rob Martell.

Martell was skating backwards toward the boards when St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko came charging in on the forecheck. It was a textbook blindside hit, as Martell never even saw the #91 train coming.

Martell finished out the remaining 4:16 of the second period. During the intermission, Martell was assessed by the medical staff and opted not to return to the ice for the third. The remainder of the game was officiated by one referee, Steve Kozari, with linesmen Tim Nowak and Shandor Alphonso.

Officially, Tarasenko finished the night with no hits. Don’t tell referee Rob Martell that…

UPDATE: Martell recovered quickly. It looks like his departure from Saturday’s game may have been for precautionary measures.  He suited up, as scheduled, for Blackhawks/Wild on Sunday night.