“Call my mom,” Clint Malarchuk recalls telling his equipment manager as the final few minutes of his life appeared to be ticking away, “and tell her I love her.”



Nearly a quarter-century after one of the most horrific injuries in sports history, the pain and fear of the moment is still etched on Clint Malarchuk’s face during ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 short documentary Cutthroat.

In the gripping 11-minute piece released Wednesday by award-winning director Steven Cantor, the Flames’ current goalie coach fights back tears throughout a tale most hockey fans remember all too well.

Mar 22, 1989 — a night the young Buffalo Sabres goalie is sure his mother is watching on her Calgary satellite dish — St. Louis Blues forward Steve Tuttle and Sabres defenceman Uwe Krupp barrel into Malarchuk in a seemingly routine goal-crease collision.

Malarchuk is surprised to look down to see blood spurting from a six-inch gash in his neck courtesy of Tuttle’s skate-blade, immediately putting him into survival mode and prompting the play-by-play man to beg his cameraman to stop showing the gory scene.

Met by Sabres trainer Jim Pizzutelli, a Vietnam War medic, Malarchuk recalls in the powerful documentary his belief he had two or three minutes left to live.

“I said, ‘Hang on to me, I think I’m dying,’” said a red-eyed Malarchuk, genuinely re-living the emotion of the surreal incident on camera. “We had all heard if your jugular or carotid artery are cut you’ve got minutes.”

As he added Wednesday, “I knew my mom was watching — that’s why I got off the ice so quick. I thought I was going to die, and I didn’t want her to see that — that was first and foremost in my mind.”

Doctors worked all night to save his life, insisting that if the cut was another quarter-inch deeper, he would have died instantly. They sewed him up with 300 stitches and told him to take the year off.

“I wish I could have done that,” said Malarchuk who instead went all-cowboy and left hospital the next day.

“I wanted to prove them wrong and me, too — I’m a cowboy.

“I’m tough.”