Documentary focuses on former Steelheads coach’s gruesome injury, recovery

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

Former Idaho Steelheads coach Clint Malarchuk is telling his story again.

Grantland, an ESPN-affiliated web site, has produced a 30 for 30 short on the former NHL goalie, who was badly injured in a 1989 on-ice incident and suffered serious life problems after.

Malarchuk is now the Calgary Flames goaltending coach. He was the Steelheads coach for the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons. Malarchuk went 62-70-11 in two seasons and 0-5 in the playoffs.

Below is the documentary:

The following story was printed in the Idaho Statesman on Feb. 13, 2008.

Malarchuk ‘emotional’ over Zednik injury
The former Steelheads coach suffered a similar neck injury during an NHL game in 1989.

Clint Malarchuk finally looked at the video Tuesday.

He saw Richard Zednik, the NHL player who suffered a gruesome neck injury Sunday when his carotid artery was accidentally severed by a teammate’s skate.

What Malarchuk thought about was his own eerie accident in 1989.

“It was emotional, very emotional,” said Malarchuk, the former Idaho Steelheads coach and NHL goaltender. “It’s been almost 19 years. I wouldn’t think that kind of a memory would flood back for me like it did.”

Zednik, a forward with the Florida Panthers, remains in a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital, where his condition was upgraded to good Tuesday.

Malarchuk, now the goaltender coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets, said the news alone of Zednik’s headline-making injury caused him to call in sick Monday.

“And I was sick,” he said. “In my head. In my heart. I didn’t have a cold. I didn’t have the flu. But I felt sick just the same. I just could not deal with this. It’s been a hard day for me. A very hard day. Harder, actually, than when I was hurt.”

On March 22, 1989, during a game between Buffalo and St. Louis, an opponent’s skate severed Malarchuk’s jugular vein. Blood poured from Malarchuk’s neck as a trainer pressed a towel against his neck. Malarchuk needed 300 stitches.

As a result of his injury, the NHL began requiring all goalies to wear neck protection in 1990.

Malarchuk returned to the ice less than two weeks later.

He’s seen replays of his accident many times, but refused to watch Zednik’s injury until Tuesday. Multiple angles of Zednik’s injury have attracted hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube.

“Thankfully, Richard Zednik will live,” Malarchuk said. “He’ll play again. But what happened … I can tell him from firsthand experience, it’s something that never leaves you.”

Sports columnist Brian Murphy writes about all sports in the Treasure Valley with a concentration on Boise State football and men's basketball. Murph has been with the Statesman since 2005. You can follow him on Twitter @MurphsTurph.

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