Saturday, May 1, 2010
Born on this day in 1961, Clint Malarchuk was originally drafted by the Quebec Nordiques #74 overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft and spent the majority of the season in the American Hockey League but did make his NHL debut with a pair of appearances with the Nordiques in 1981-82.
He would again spend most of his time in the AHL in 1982-83, but did earn his first NHL victory in 15 games with the Nordiques, posting an 8-5-2 record. The following season he again split time between the AHL and the Nordiques, only this time with the majority of games spent in the NHL, again finishing the season with a winning record of 10-9-2.
Malarchuk played all of 1984-85 with the Fredericton Express in the AHL before becoming a full time NHLer in 1985-86, seeing action in 46 games in Quebec, going 26-12-4. After one more season with the Nordiques, and appearing in a career high 54 games, Malarchuk was traded to the Washington Capitals as part of the deal which brought Dale Hunter to the Capitals.
As the Capitals number one netminder, he matched his career high with 54 games, winning 24 of them and leading the NHL in shutouts with 4. He made it into 42 games with the Capitals in 1988-89 before being traded on March 7th to the Buffalo Sabres who sent Calle Johansson to Washington.
15 days later Malarchuk would suffer a grotesque injury when his throat was slashed by a skate during a game, causing a ghastly scene on the ice as he bled profusely from a severed carotid artery and feared for his life. Sabres trainer Jim Pizzutelli, a former army medic in Vietnam, rushed to his aid to control the bleeding until doctors arrived, saving Malarchuk's life. It took doctors 90 minutes and 300 stitches to close the horrific wound, but Malarchuk would spend just one night in the hospital. Two days later he made an appearance at a Sabres game, receiving a two minute standing ovation. Incredibly, four days after the accident he would return to practice and a week later he played for the last five minutes of the final game of the regular season.
The following season he would play 29 games, going 14-11-2. An increase in games to 37 preceded his last season in the NHL, as he saw action in 29 games as he again split time with Darren Puppa.
Following the conclusion of his NHL career, Malarchuk would play three seasons in the IHL, first with the San Diego Gulls, followed by two with the Las Vegas Thunder, highlighted by going 34-10-7 in 54 games in 1993-94. He would get into 1 game in 1995-96 and three the following season while the assistant general manage and coach to conclude his playing career. His #30 would be the first number retired by the Thunder.
While in Las Vegas, Malarchuk, known for his wacky sense of humor, pulled one of our favorite pranks ever. He told a reporter that he spoke fluent Czech and proceeded to translate the reporter's questions to then 18 year old Radek Bonk, as well as Bonk's replies. The problem was, Malarchuk didn't actually know a single word of Czech, and was speaking gibberish to Bonk, who struggled to keep a straight face throughout!
Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Washington Capitals Clint Malarchuk jersey, from his second season in Washington D. C.
This jersey features the five stars down the sleeves, which the Capitals jerseys had from 1974-75 until 1982-83 until going to just four stars for two seasons until reverting back to five again for the 1985-86 season.
The Capitals wore these jerseys from their inception in 1974 all the way through the 1994-95 season. What really sets the authentic version of the Capitals jersey apart from the replica jerseys is that each letter of the Capitals logo on the front is a separate piece of material, rather than the entire crest being embroidered in a smaller size onto a patch, which would then be sewn onto the jersey. Each of the 16 stars on the chest and sleeves are also separate pieces of material which are sewn on. If you can get an old game worn or authentic Capitals jersey, do so, as it is one of the largest differences in quality between the authentic and the replica of any jersey.
Today's video section begins with an interview with Malarchuk shortly after his injury. You have to just shake your head at the part where he says "it's part of the game."
Here is Malarchuk having a full on slugfest with Troy Gamble and then discussing the fight and his subsequent suspension while playing for the Las Vegas Thunder.