Goalie’s bloody strug­gles per­sist both off and on the ice

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS - Re­viewed by Ge­off Kir­byson

CLINT Malarchuk gives a har­row­ing look inside both his goalie crease and his own head in The Crazy Game: How I Sur­vived in the Crease and Beyond. The for­mer NHL goalie is known around the world for hav­ing sur­vived ar­guably the most grue­some on-ice in­jury in the his­tory of hockey, when his throat was slashed open in March 1989. St. Louis Blues for­ward Steve Tut­tle was go­ing to the net, but was up­ended by Malarchuk’s team­mate, Uwe Krupp, and his feet went up in the air, hit­ting the goal­tender in the carotid artery. As the blood splurted out through his fin­gers six feet in front of him, his first thought was “I’m go­ing to die.” His sec­ond was “get off the ice” be­cause he knew his mom was watch­ing the game on TV. Sev­eral videos of the ac­ci­dent have been viewed more than five mil­lion times on YouTube. Luck­ily for the Sabres’ net­min­der, the team’s trainer, Jim Piz­zutelli, had seen far worse as a com­bat en­gi­neer in Viet­nam. (He once took a he­li­copter ride be­side a de­cap­i­tated body and its head.) “Just do as I say. We’re go­ing to save you,” he told Malarchuk as he ap­plied pres­sure to the wound. More than 300 stitches later, Malarchuk’s life was saved and he was back at prac­tice in four days — and in his first game in 10. Un­for­tu­nately, this wasn’t the only time Malarchuk bled pro­fusely from his head and prob­a­bly should have died. The sec­ond time oc­curred on his Ne­vada farm in 2008, after he pushed the bar­rel of a gun un­der his chin and pulled the trig­ger dur­ing an ar­gu­ment with his wife. (The bul­let is still lodged in his fore­head.) Malarchuk is bru­tally hon­est with all as­pects of his life, par­tic­u­larly his bat­tles with de­pres­sion, men­tal ill­ness and ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive disorder. He also dis­cov­ered in 2008 that he suf­fered from post-trau­matic stress disorder from the throat slash. His off-ice is­sues led di­rectly to a down­turn in his play, and he played his last NHL game dur­ing the 1992-93 sea­son. It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Malarchuk gives an inside look at the life of a pro­fes­sional hockey player — don’t fall asleep on an air­plane un­less you want to wake up wear­ing a tur­ban of shav­ing cream — and he has a few cool sto­ries, such as drink­ing some beers with Van Halen. De­spite be­ing on the same path as sev­eral other play­ers with men­tal ill­ness — such as Derek Boogaard, Wade Be­lak and Rick Ryp­ien, all of whom died in the sum­mer of 2011 — Malarchuk ap­pears to have come out the other side. Hope­fully the next chap­ter in his life won’t be writ­ten in a book. Ge­off Kir­byson is a proud beer lea­guer with the Sofa Kings. He does not wear a throat pro­tec­tor but is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing it now.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.