One of my favourite one-liners of all time goes something
“Soccer players try to pretend that they are hurt. Hockey
players try and pretend they aren’t.”
Hockey players don’t sit on the sidelines with blisters or
hangnails. They are tough. Don’t believe it?
Drew Miller’s recent
skate-to-the-face injury is all the proof we need, and he is far from the only
one to take a blade or puck to the face.
There has been one fatality as the result of a play on-ice
in an NHL game. Read on to find out who that was.
Hang on tight…
Drew Miller, NHL,
Detroit Red Wings
During a faceoff in the offensive zone in a home game vs the
Ottawa Senators, Miller was struck by the skate blade right off the face off.
Ottawa’s Mark Stone got tripped up and his skate blade made contact with
Miller’s face. Miller went down then got right back up miraculously and skated
to the Wings’ bench frantically motioning with his right hand for his team’s
training staff to help him. He skated off so fast that most of the players on
the ice at the time likely had no idea what was happening. During the stitch-up
in the dressing room, word broke that Miller wanted to return to the game. This
guy has heart. I think the Leafs should trade for him, or at least his coach
Mike Babcock, then acquire a player with Miller’s heart and courage.
In a game on March 27, Winnipeg Jets prospect Ryan Olsen
took on Phil Lane of the Portland Pirates. The fight happened in the first
period. Olsen took a puck to the face in the second period. You should have
seen his face at that point. Olsen’s third period was a piece of cake.
Martin Havlat, NHL,
New Jersey Devils
In a game on Oct. 16, 2004, Havlat was pushed into referee
Darcy Burchell and was somehow cut for 40 stitches. He suited up for the next
game. That’s pretty tough.
Taylor Hall, NHL,
During a pre-game warmup, Mr. Hall decided to do what a lot
of pro hockey players do these days and that is skate in the pre-game warmup
sans the helmet. They do this because it’s like fresh air for your hair when
you are not wearing a helmet. Anyways Hall was skating around and collided with
a teammate and wound up cut on his head and his forehead. Not pretty. This is
not the kind of headshot you want on your driver’s license. Hall looked a lot like
Jason from the Friday the 13th movie series, minus the hockey mask,
no pun intended.
Anyways Hall needed 30 stitches to close the gap, and it was
not a pretty picture the next day when he faced the media.
Borje Salming, NHL,
Toronto Maple Leafs
Cut on the face after being accidentally stepped on. During
a game against the Red Wings, on Nov. 26, 1986, Salming collided with Gerald
Gallant and wound up needing 200 stitches to close up the gap. He was back on
the ice only 3 days later.
Clint Malarchuk, NHL,
This is the
granddaddy of them all right here.
moment that Malarchuk is perhaps most known for occurred 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 collided at the mouth of
the goal, and Tuttle's skate caught Malarchuk on the neck, severing his jugular
With pools of blood all over the ice, Malarchuk somehow left the ice under his
own power with the assistance of his team's athletic trainer, Jim Pizzutelli,
were physically sickened by the sight, with nine fainting and two suffering
heart attacks while three teammates vomited on the ice. Local television
cameras covering the game cut away from the sight of Malarchuk after realizing
what had happened.
Malarchuk, meanwhile, had only two thoughts: He was going to die, and he had to
do it the right way. "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." 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
Malarchuk's life was saved by Pizzutelli, the team's athletic trainer and a
former army medic who had served in Vietnam. He reached into Malarchuk's neck
and pinched off the bleeding, not letting go until doctors arrived to begin suturing
the wound. Still, Malarchuk came within minutes of becoming only the second
fatality to result from an on-ice injury in NHL history (the first was Bill
Masterton). It was estimated that if the skate hit 1/8 inch higher on
Malarchuk's jugular, he would have been dead within 2 minutes. In the dressing
room and on his way to the hospital, doctors spent 90 minutes and used over 300
stitches to close the wound. It was also said that had the incident occurred at
the other end of the ice (Malarchuk was on the locker room end of the ice, as
the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium had the locker room exits at the end of the ice
instead of the normal locations behind the benches), Malarchuk never would have
made it and would have died.
There has been one fatality on the ice in NHL play and that
was Bill Masterton
Labels: Jeffrey P. S.