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Getting To Know: Clint Malarchuk

Mark Malinowski
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Clint Malarchuk (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Getting To Know: Clint Malarchuk

Mark Malinowski
By:

Clint Malarchuk's story is infamous, but there's more to the former Nordiques, Capitals, and Sabres goaltender than his on ice incident. In this week's Getting To Know, Malarchuk talks pranks, shutouts, and the greatest save he ever made.

Status: Former NHL goaltender from 1981-1992 for Quebec, Buffalo and Washington. Recently published an autobiography titled "The Crazy Game."

DOB: May 1, 1961 In: Grand Prairie, Alberta

First Hockey Memory: "Was up north in Grand Prairie, Alberta, going to see my dad (Mike) play. Back in the days of no masks, an old barn arena. I was just a toddler but I do have memories of it."

Hockey Inspirations: "I really liked Bernie Parent. I tried to follow his style - stand up, play the angles. No one really butterflied then. He epitomized that style. The Broad Street Bullies were winning Cups then. Glenn Hall was before my time but I met him later. I admired him, and his legacy."

Greatest Sports Moment: "I don't want to say there were so many because I was just an average player. Any time I got a shutout I guess. There was one time I shut out the Boston Bruins back to back, so that was pretty cool, especially it being Boston. I think it was '86-87, I was with Quebec, maybe '85."

Most Painful Moment: "Probably we were playing New Jersey in the playoffs, I was with Washington. I got shelled in the playoffs. That was painful. We lost pretty badly, 9-3."

Favorite Uniforms: "I've been fortunate to play for three teams that had pretty good uniforms. The Caps - with the red sweater and the stars. Buffalo is probably the most unique. I hated it when they went to the new look. I was in Buffalo recently for a book signing and somebody called those new uniforms the 'goat head.' The original Sabres logo was a very cool logo. And the Nordiques and the unique colors and the red "n" which looked like an igloo."

Favorite Rinks To Play: "I like the old rinks. One of the coolest was Chicago Stadium. The cool thing about it was when you left your locker room, you climbed the stairs which were very steep. You come up... it was almost like coming up out of a hole in the floor... and then you step on the ice. The old rinks, the Original Six were very cool. I also like the old Checkerdome in St. Louis. The old rinks just had so much character. Now the rinks, the bowl part of the arena, are all the same basically. The differences are on the concourses and in the press boxes."

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: "I think it's just in your blood. Growing up with it. My dad was a goalie, my brother was a goalie. You play it from a young age. You skate ever since you can walk. The romance of the outdoor rinks and ponds. So many hours spent there. It just gets in your blood."

Funniest Players Encountered: "Probably Dale Hunter. Prankster. Very funny guy. Moose Dupont was a funny guy. And Larry Playfair was hilarious."

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: "Oh, Dale Hunter, for sure. Chris Nilan. He was a scary guy. Really intense competitor."

Closest NHL Friends: "Dean Kennedy. Dale Hunter. Rick Dudley. And Steve Ludzik."

Most Memorable Save: "I still remember it. With TV and everything, back then it wasn't what it is now. I think I was with Quebec playing Buffalo. Somehow I got bumped and spun around. I kinda caught the puck behind my back. The shot was at my blocker. The spinning action brought my glove behind my back and I caught the puck. It was a complete fluke."

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "The pounding we took from New Jersey. That was embarrassing. Any time as a goalie when you get pulled...that's a long skate to the bench. Kind of embarrassing."

Funny Hockey Memory: "Oh boy, back in those days it was a lot of pranking. Back then we flew commercial a lot. So we spent a lot of time in airports...the thread and the bill. And the poor guy thinks the draft is blowing it. Things like that. A lot of it I can't say, probably a little too off colour [laughs]."

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: "Rodeo. I played a lot of baseball."

First Famous Player You Met or Encountered: "I remember a promotion in Edmonton. It was a signing. Dallas Smith of the Boston Bruins was signing autographs at an Esso gas station."

Strangest Game: "My second NHL start, on Long Island. Against the Islanders back when they were winning Cups. The game was so wide open, it was like pond hockey. I think the final score was 10-7. It wasn't like I was playing terrible or Billy Smith at the other end was playing terrible. I remember Mike Bossy had three breakaways. It was just one of those games, back and forth."

Personality Qualities Most Admired: "I like honesty. Straightforward type honesty, not sugar coating. People with tact. I think that's an endearing quality. Loyalty, got your back. Like, real friends are hard to find. A lot of acquaintances. I've been lucky to have some great friends."

Mark "Scoop" Malinowski is the author of the new tennis books "Facing Federer" and "Facing Hewitt" which are available at Amazon. He's currently working on "Facing Probert."

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Getting To Know: Clint Malarchuk