Other NHL on-ice scares

Updated: November 22, 2005, 8:03 PM ET
ESPN.com

When Jiri Fischer suffered a seizure during Monday's matchup between the Predators and Red Wings, the game didn't matter anymore.

Players, fans and officials all watched and hoped Fischer would be OK. Unfortunately, it wasn't the first time hockey has had an on-ice scare. Here is a look at other incidents where we all watched and hoped everything would be OK.

Clint Malarchuk, Buffalo Sabres
March 22, 1989: Goaltender Clint Malarchuk had recently been traded to the Sabres when a routine play nearly ended his life. Buffalo defenseman Ewe Krupp and St. Louis forward Steve Tuttle became entangled in front of the Sabres' net. Tuttle's skate came up and sliced Malarchuk's jugular vein. Blood quickly filled the crease in front fans and players. Malarchuk left the ice with the help of a trainer and although the cut required in excess of 300 stitches to close the wound, he returned to action two weeks later.

Borje Salming, Toronto Maple Leafs
November, 1986: The great Swedish defenseman, who paved the way for a generation of Swedish NHLers, suffered a ghastly cut when he and Red Wings forward Gerard Gallant collided in a goal-mouth scramble late in a 3-1 victory by the Leafs. Salming required extensive cosmetic surgery to repair a cut to the face that required close to 300 stitches.

Bill Masterton, Minnesota North Stars
Jan. 13, 1968: An original North Star and member of the U.S. national team, Masterton stumbled and fell backwards during a game against the California Golden Seals. After taking a bodycheck, he hit his head on the ice and lost consciousness. He was immediately transported to hospital, but never regained consciousness and died 48 hours later. That spring the NHL along with the NHL writers' association established an award in his name, honoring players who show perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. It was the first casualty from an on-ice incident in NHL history.

Bryan Berard, Toronto Maple Leafs
March 11, 2000: The native of Woonsocket, R.I., appeared to have his career ended in Ottawa when Marian Hossa's stick scraped across Berard's face, permanently damaging his right eye. The 1997 rookie of the year was rushed to a hospital and missed the balance of that season and the next before returning to action in 2001. He was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2004 and continues to be a valuable offensive defenseman with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Brian Savage, Montreal Canadiens
Nov. 27, 1999: Savage suffered three cracked vertebrae when he was leveled by a thunderous open-ice hit in a game vs. the Los Angeles Kings. Savage was taken from the ice on a stretcher and there was a period of uncertain recovery at home with his pregnant wife before he learned that there was no damage to his spinal cord. Savage, now 34, is currently a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Trent McCleary, Montreal Canadiens
Jan. 29, 2000: The Swift Current, Saskatchewan, native nearly died on the ice during a home game between the Canadiens and Flyers. McCleary blocked a rising Chris Therien shot in the throat, the force of the blast collapsing his larynx, cutting off the flow of oxygen. Several emergency surgical procedures, including an emergency tracheotomy soon after the incident, cleared his airway, but it took several more weeks and operations on his vocal cords before he regained his speech. According to reports, the incident left McCleary with a 15-percent narrower air passage because of a partially paralyzed left vocal cord and scar tissue in his throat. It forced McCleary to retire in September of the same year.

Donald Audette, Montreal Canadiens
Dec. 1, 2001: The diminutive winger was racing to break up a breakaway by the New York Rangers' Radek Dvorak. When he flung himself at the Ranger forward, Audette's wrist became exposed and Dvorak's blade cut through at least 10 tendons. If not for the presence of a micro-surgeon at the Bell Centre in Montreal, it's believed Audette would have lost the use of his arm. As it was, Audette returned to help the Habs to the playoffs.

Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
May, 1998: During a playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings, the future Norris and Hart Trophy-winning defenseman was struck near the heart by a puck. Pronger collapsed only to regain consciousness a short time later. Pronger was later diagnosed as having cardiac arrhythmia. Although it is a potentially deadly condition, Pronger was released after spending the night in a Detroit hospital and returned to finish out the series.

Sergei Zholtok, Nashville Predators
Nov. 3, 2004: Sergei Zholtok left a game between Riga 2000 and Dinamo Minsk. He collapsed and died in the locker room from heart failure. He was 31. Zholtok, a forward for the Nashville Predators, was playing for a club in his native Latvia during the NHL lockout. Zholtok was previously diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, a condition that forced him to miss seven games for the Minnesota Wild in January 2003.

Normand Leveille, Boston Bruins
Dec. 23, 1982: Leveille, just 19, was hit into the boards at the Pacific Coliseum by Marc Crawford, but went on playing in the Oct. 23 game vs. the Vancouver Canucks. After the first period, he collapsed in the dressing room due to a brain hemorrhage. He was taken to a local hospital, where neurosurgeons performed a life-saving, seven-hour operation. Leveille was in a coma for three weeks, but eventually recovered enough to walk again. He never fully regained control of his speech. It was determined that Leveille was born with a rare congenital condition known as an arterio-venous malformation, which could not have been detected without a brain scan. He never returned to play in the NHL, but did skate on the ice one last time on Sept. 28, 1995 in the ceremony marking the closing of the Boston Garden.

ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside contributed to this report.

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