There are many memories frozen in time in the forty plus years of Buffalo Sabres history – none more gruesome and compelling than that fateful night at Memorial Auditorium when the St. Louis Blues visited the Buffalo Sabres.
On March 22, 1989 – Clint Malarchuk’s life and career was changed forever. Steve Tuttles skate caught Malarchuk in the neck during a scrum near the crease, severing his carotid artery. Thankfully for Malarchuk, the event happened at the right end of Memorial Auditorium, and he received immediate care.
Two weeks later, his physical self recovered, he stood tall in net for the Buffalo Sabres once again.
Physical recovery allowed him to return to the ice in just two weeks, his life was forever changed however, as his emotional and mental healing spanned twenty years – including in patient treatment for PTSD.
Malarchuck is being featured with an ESPN films 30 for 30 Short film entitled Cutthroat, which will be debuted and be featured today at Grantland.com.
You can watch the film here.
I personally did not see the Malarchuk injury, but was present at the game on February 10th, 2008 – when Richard Zednik was injured in a similar fashion – except during an open ice hit when teammate Ollie Jokinen tripped over Buffalo Sabres Clarke MacArthur; Jokinen flipped up and his skate caught Zednik’s external carotid artery. What was probably a more gruesome injury, given the trail of blood Zednik left on the ice as he skated for his life to the bench area.
Malarchuck went on to play several more seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, playing in his final NHL game in 1992.
Thank you to ESPN and Grantland Films for sharing the story of Clint Malarchuk.