Clint Malarchuk

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Clint Malarchuk
Clint Malarchuk cadré.jpg
Clint Malarchuk playing for the Quebec Nordiques in 1986
Born (1961-05-01) May 1, 1961 (age 53)
Grande Prairie, AB, CAN
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for NHL
Quebec Nordiques
Washington Capitals
Buffalo Sabres
IHL
San Diego Gulls
Las Vegas Thunder
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. He has been a coach for four NHL teams and two minor league teams, most recently the Calgary Flames. He was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and lives in Alberta and Nevada.[1]

Malarchuk survived a life-threatening injury during a 1989 NHL game when St. Louis Blues player Steve Tuttle's skate blade slashed his carotid artery,[2] causing immediate massive blood loss.

Playing career[edit]

Malarchuk played junior hockey for the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He then went on to play professionally in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals, and Buffalo Sabres, and in the International Hockey League (IHL) for the Las Vegas Thunder. He compiled a career record of 141 wins, 130 losses, 45 ties, 12 shutouts, and an .885 save percentage.

Neck incident[edit]

During a game on March 22, 1989, between the visiting St. Louis Blues and Malarchuk's Buffalo Sabres, Steve Tuttle of the Blues and Uwe Krupp of the Sabres became entangled while chasing the puck and crashed hard into the Buffalo goal, taking Malarchuk down with them. As Tuttle and Krupp came down on him, Tuttle's skate blade hit Malarchuk's neck and severed his carotid artery.[2]

With blood spurting from Malarchuk's throat onto the ice, he was able to leave the ice on his own feet with the assistance of his team's athletic trainer, Jim Pizzutelli.[3] Many spectators were physically sickened by the sight.[4] There were reports that eleven fans fainted, two more suffered heart attacks and three players vomited on the ice.[5][6] Local television cameras covering the game cut away from the sight of Malarchuk bleeding after noticing what had happened, and Sabres announcers Ted Darling and Mike Robitaille were audibly shaken. At the production room of the national cable sports highlight show, a producer scrolled his tape back to show the event to two other producers, who both started screaming.[7]

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."[8] 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.[9]

Malarchuk's life was saved due to quick action by the team's athletic trainer, Jim Pizzutelli, a former Army medic who served in Vietnam. He reached into Malarchuk's neck and pinched off the blood vessel, not letting go until doctors arrived to begin stabilizing the wound. The team doctor then applied extreme pressure by kneeling on his collarbone—a procedure designed to produce a low breathing rate and low metabolic state, which is preferable to exsanguination. Previous reports have suggested doctors worked for hours to save Malarchuk's life, however this is an overestimate. He was conscious and talking on the way to the hospital. (He asked paramedics if they could bring him back in time for the third period.[1]). The game resumed when league personnel received word that the player was in stable condition.

Still, Malarchuk came within minutes of becoming the second fatality as a result from an on-ice injury in NHL history after Bill Masterton (1968). 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 two minutes. He lost 1/3 of the blood in his body.[2] It took doctors a total of 300 stitches to close the wound.[9][10] It was also said that had the incident occurred at the other end of the ice, Malarchuk may have died because of the extra time it would have taken to reach the medical room. The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium had the locker room exits at one end of the ice instead of the location behind the benches, and he was at that end.[11]

Malarchuk's performance declined over the next few years, until he decided to leave the NHL. After this, he struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder (as he had since a young age), as well as nightmares and alcoholism,[12] 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 Zedník suffered an injury similar to Malarchuk after Olli Jokinen's skate blade cut the side of Zednik's neck, injuring his external carotid artery. Although he initially refused to view the footage, upon viewing it Malarchuk was taken aback, saying that he didn't think his memory of his own incident would come back after 19 years. He sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder the following year.[13]

Minor pro career[edit]

In 1992-93, Malarchuk was a goaltender for the IHL's San Diego Gulls and played in the league championship.[14] The following season he became starting goaltender for the Las Vegas Thunder, appearing in 55 games and accumulating a record of 34-10-7. He was later hired as the team's head coach and assistant GM. His jersey number was retired by the Thunder and hangs from the rafters of the Thomas & Mack Center.

Coaching career[edit]

Malarchuk served as head coach of the IHL Las Vegas Thunder in the 1998-99 season and the Idaho Steelheads until 2000. Afterwards he was a goaltending coach for the NHL Florida Panthers during the 2002-03 season. He was signed as the goaltending coach for 2006–07 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. In August 2010 Malarchuk agreed to become the goaltending consultant for the Atlanta Thrashers.[15] On June 17, 2011, Calgary Flames announced hiring Malarchuk as their Goaltender coach.[16] On June 17, 2014, the Calgary Flames announced they parted ways with Malarchuk and were searching for a new goaltending coach. He had earlier taken leave during the 2013-14 season for personal reasons.[17][18]

Gun incident[edit]

On October 7, 2008, Malarchuk suffered what, according to his wife, Joan, was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chin from a .22 caliber rifle at his residence in Fish Springs, Nevada after a period of stress and domestic problems. The incident was initially described as an accident while hunting rabbits,[19][20] but both the goalie and his wife have since admitted it was a suicide attempt.[21] On October 10, 2008, The Douglas County, Nevada sheriff's investigation concluded the shooting was accidental under suspicious circumstances. but afterwards Joan Malarchuk said she unequivocally told the sheriff it was a suicide attempt "so that he would get the help he needed".

Officers and paramedics at the scene reported that Malarchuk, who was bleeding from both his mouth and chin, was uncooperative and refused treatment. Joan Malarchuk said she sat with her husband, who was bleeding, and comforted him because she was afraid he would lash out again and get shot by police.[22] Malarchuk was later flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno for treatment and released less than a week after the shooting. He then spent approximately 6 months in a rehab being treated for alcoholism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.[2]

The Canadian Press reported that Joan 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.[23][24]

Personal life[edit]

After his playing career Malarchuk settled on a ranch in Fish Springs, Nevada where he and his wife at the time raised three kids, and emus. In the mid 2000s, he became certified as an veterinary technician and runs a practice as a horse dentist and chiropractor from his ranch.

A visiting photographer once had his camera flash stolen by Clint Malarchuk's emus.[25]

Malarchuk released an autobiography called "The Crazy Game" in November 2014.[22][26]

During his time with the Calgary Flames organization, Malarchuk was a guest speaker at local high schools about issues surrounding injury, self-injury, and mental health.[1][27]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

  Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League   GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA   GP W L MIN GA SO GAA
1977–78 Fort Saskatchewan Traders AJHL 33 23 9 1 2015 157 1 4.67
1978–79 Fort Saskatchewan Traders AJHL 52 36 15 1 3030 204 1 4.04
1978–79 Portland Winter Hawks WHL 2 2 0 0 120 4 0 2.00
1979–80 Portland Winter Hawks WHL 37 21 10 0 1948 147 0 4.53 1 0 0 40 3 0 4.50
1980–81 Portland Winter Hawks WHL 38 28 8 0 2235 142 3 3.81 5 3 2 307 21 0 4.10
1981–82 Quebec Nordiques NHL 2 0 1 1 120 14 0 7.00
1981–82 Fredericton Express AHL 51 15 34 2 2906 247 0 5.10
1982–83 Quebec Nordiques NHL 15 8 5 2 900 71 0 4.63
1982–83 Fredericton Express AHL 25 14 6 5 1506 78 0 3.11
1983–84 Quebec Nordiques NHL 23 10 9 2 1215 80 0 3.95
1983–84 Fredericton Express AHL 11 5 5 1 663 40 0 3.62
1984–85 Fredericton Express AHL 56 26 25 4 3347 198 2 3.55 6 2 4 379 20 0 3.17
1985–86 Quebec Nordiques NHL 46 26 12 4 2657 142 4 3.21 3 0 2 143 11 0 4.62
1986–87 Quebec Nordiques NHL 54 18 26 9 3092 175 1 3.40 3 0 2 140 8 0 3.43
1987–88 Washington Capitals NHL 54 24 20 4 2924 154 4 3.16 4 0 2 193 15 0 4.65
1988–89 Washington Capitals NHL 42 16 18 7 2428 141 1 3.48
1988–89 Buffalo Sabres NHL 7 3 1 1 326 13 1 2.39 1 0 1 59 5 0 5.07
1989–90 Buffalo Sabres NHL 29 14 11 2 1596 89 0 3.35
1990–91 Buffalo Sabres NHL 37 12 14 10 2131 119 1 3.35 4 2 2 246 17 0 4.15
1991–92 Buffalo Sabres NHL 29 10 13 3 1639 102 0 3.73
1991–92 Rochester Americans AHL 2 2 0 0 120 3 1 1.50
1992–93 San Diego Gulls IHL 27 17 3 3 1516 72 3 2.85 12 6 4 668 34 0 3.05
1993–94 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 55 34 10 7 3076 172 1 3.35 5 1 3 257 16 0 3.74
1994–95 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 38 15 13 3 2039 127 0 3.74 2 0 0 32 2 0 3.70
1995–96 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 1 0 0 0 4 0 0 0.00
1996–97 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 3 1 1 0 63 6 0 5.63
NHL totals 338 141 130 45 19028 1100 12 3.47 15 2 9 782 56 0 4.30

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c SN Magazine: Clint Malarchuk, The Survivor
  2. ^ a b c d "30 for 30 Shorts: Cutthroat". Grantland.com. May 29, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ Video of Malarchuk injury at YouTube.com (Warning: Graphic)
  4. ^ "The 10 Spot: September 16, 2005". CNNSI.com. September 16, 2005. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Zednik's injury brings Malarchuk's own nightmare back to surface - NHL - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  6. ^ Malarchuk remembers the blood
  7. ^ Cutthroat reminds Sportscenter veterans of gruesome injury
  8. ^ Zednik's injury brings Malarchuk's own nightmare back to surface
  9. ^ a b The Story of Clint Malarchuk
  10. ^ Burnside, Scott (2005-11-22). "Other NHL on-ice scares". espn.com. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  11. ^ Mark Zampogna (2007-03-21). "Malarchuk's horrific accident still etched in memory". LetsGoSabres.com. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  12. ^ Knisley, Michael (1995-03-06). "The Biggest Save". The Sporting News. 
  13. ^ Malarchuk still haunted by accident
  14. ^ http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130522/SPORTS/130529954
  15. ^ "Thrashers Name Clint Malarchuk Goaltending Consultant". 2010-08-19. Archived from the original on 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  16. ^ "Flames name Malarchuk goaltender coach, Snow director of video analysis - Calgary Flames - News". Flames.nhl.com. 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  17. ^ Calgary Flames in market for goaltending coach
  18. ^ Flames part ways with Clint Malarchuk
  19. ^ Ex-hockey star shoots self in chin, The Record Courier, October 8, 2008
  20. ^ O'Connor, Joe. "NHL: Malarchuk shoots himself in chin" in The National Post. October 09, 2008
  21. ^ http://www.deadspin.com/5881954/im-walking-around-with-a-bullet-in-my-head-and-a-scar-on-my-neck-clint-malarchuk-at-50
  22. ^ a b Clint Malarchuk The Cowboy Goalie talks about the struggles in his life
  23. ^ The Canadian Press. Probe Into Former NHL Goalie Malarchuk Concludes. October 10, 2008
  24. ^ Gilbertson, Wes. "Ex-goalie injured in gun accident." The Calgary Sun. October 10, 2008.
  25. ^ Malarchuk at long last has his life under control, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 12, 1995
  26. ^ Saved: How I Survived My Life In Hockey, by Clint Malarchuk with Dan Robson
  27. ^ Alberta Primetime: Malarchuk's Journey

External links[edit]