Clint Malarchuk: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Born May 1, 1961 (1961-05-01) (age 48),
Grande Prairie, AB, CAN
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Pro clubs Quebec Nordiques
Washington Capitals
Buffalo Sabres
NHL Draft 74th overall, 1981
Quebec Nordiques
Playing career 1981 – 1996

Clint Malarchuk (born May 1, 1961), is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) between 1981 and 1992, and the current goaltending coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Aside from his career, he is known for sustaining a life-threatening injury during a game when another player's skate blade slashed his interior carotid artery.


Playing career

Malarchuk was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta. He played for the Portland Winter Hawks, Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres in the course of his career. He was a very competent goalie, with a career record of 141 wins, 130 losses, 45 ties, 12 shutouts, and a 0.885 save percentage.

Throat injury

The infamous moment that Malarchuk is perhaps most known for occurred during a game on March 22, 1989, between the visiting St. Louis Blues and Malarchuk's Buffalo Sabres. When Steve Tuttle of the Blues and Uwe Krupp of the Sabres became entangled while chasing the puck and crashed into Malarchuk's goal, Tuttle's skate caught Malarchuk on the neck, severing his interior carotid artery.[1]

With pools of blood collecting on the ice, Malarchuk left the ice on his own feet with the assistance of his team's athletic trainer, Jim Pizzutelli.[2] Many spectators were physically sickened by the sight.[3] Local television cameras covering the game cut away from the sight of Malarchuk bleeding after realizing what had happened.

Malarchuk, meanwhile, believed he was going to die. "All I wanted to do was get off the ice", said Malarchuk. "My mother was watching the game on TV, and I didn't want her to see me die."[4] Aware that his mother had been watching the game on TV, he had an equipment manager call and tell her he loved her. Then he asked for a priest.[5]

Malarchuk's life was saved by Pizzutelli, a former army medic who had served in Vietnam. He reached into Malarchuk's neck and pinched off the bleeding, not letting go until doctors arrived to begin suturing the wound. Still, Malarchuk came within minutes of becoming only the second fatality to result from an on-ice injury in NHL history (the first was Bill Masterton). It was estimated that if the skate had hit 1/8 inch (3 mm) higher on Malarchuk's carotid, he would have been dead within 2 minutes. In the dressing room and on his way to the hospital, doctors spent 90 minutes and used over 300 stitches to close the wound.[5][6] It was also said that, had the incident occurred at the other end of the ice, Malarchuk never would have made it and would have died. (The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium had the locker room exits at one the end of the ice instead of the normal locations behind the benches, and he was at that end.)[1]

Malarchuk returned to practice four days later, having spent only one night in the hospital. About a week after that, he was back in goal against the Quebec Nordiques. "Doctors told me to take the rest of the year off, but there was no way", Malarchuk said. "The longer you wait, the harder it's going to be. I play for keeps." Malarchuk came back in time to play in the playoffs but only to lose to Ray Bourque and the Boston Bruins in a 4–1 series.

Malarchuk's performance declined over the next few years, to the point that he left the NHL. After this, he struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder (as he had since a young age), as well as nightmares and alcoholism,[7] but he eventually returned to hockey, in the International Hockey League. After retiring as a player, Malarchuk continued his hockey career as a coach.

On February 10, 2008, coincidentally again in Buffalo, Florida Panthers player Richard Zednik suffered an injury similar to Malarchuk after Olli Jokinen's skate blade cut the side of Zednik's neck, injuring his carotid artery and barely missing his jugular vein. Upon viewing the footage of Zednik's injury, Malarchuk was taken aback, saying that he didn't think his memory of his own incident would come back after 19 years. Malarchuk also stated he would like to speak with Zednik once the time was right.[8]

Gun incident

On October 7th, 2008, Malarchuk suffered what, according to his wife, Joan, was a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his chin from a .22 caliber rifle at his residence in Fish Springs, Nevada. Malarchuk was discovered bleeding profusely on a bench by his wife, Joan, who had just arrived home from work, and she immediately called the authorities. Nevada's Record Courier reported that, according to his wife, Malarchuk, who was hunting rabbits at the time, had rested the rifle between his legs and with its butt on the ground when it suddenly discharged. Officers and paramedics who arrived on the scene reported that Malarchuk, who was bleeding from both his mouth and chin, was uncooperative and initially refused treatment, and continued to do so after he was rushed to Carson Valley Medical Center in Gardnerville. Malarchuk was later flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno for treatment and released less than a week after the shooting.[9][10]

By October 10, 2008, sheriff's deputies in Douglas County, Nevada, completed their investigation into the incident, concluding that Malarchuk's shooting was "accidental under suspicious circumstances" and that, unless contradicting information is found, the matter was closed. Responding to suggestions that the incident could have been a suicide attempt, sheriff's spokesperson Sgt. Jim Halsey stated that he could not rule it out. However, Halsey elaborates no further other than saying that the Malarchuks had been arguing and that it is a remote possibility that a rifle would discharge simply by being placed on the ground. Both Malarchuks vehemently deny suggestions that it was a suicide attempt.

The Canadian Press reported that Joan had informed authorities that her husband was not supposed to consume alcohol as he was on prescription medications for obsessive-compulsive disorder, but was doing so anyway at the time of the accident.[11][12]

Coaching career

Malarchuk served as head coach of the minor league Idaho Steelheads from 1998 to 2000. Afterwards he was a goaltending coach for the Florida Panthers during the 2002-03 season. He was signed as the goaltending coach for 2006–07 by the Columbus Blue Jackets.


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