Clint Malarchuk, in Batavia last weekend for an autograph signing, didn't know he was expected to autograph grotesque photos of the moment that nearly killed him.
Malarchuk never had signed images of his spurting jugular vein, sliced open by a skate while goaltending for the Buffalo Sabres in 1989.
The accident made him famous. Fans celebrated his bravery for playing a week and a half later. He joked about his injury to deal with the anxiety. But his near-death experience ruined his life for years. He drank more to forget. His obsessive-compulsive issues worsened. He shot himself in the head in 2008 but survived.
So the graphic photos of his gushing throat were right there, and Malarchuk had a Sharpie in his hand.
"Despite the psychological damage it caused me," Malarchuk told me, "it is my trademark."
Malarchuk on Wednesday spoke with "The Tim Graham Show" about his journey and the obstacles he still must overcome. He wrote the 2014 biography "A Matter of Inches: How I Survived in the Crease and Beyond," a process he considered torturous but became "the best thing I ever did" because of the impact it has made on others.
You can listen to the entire interview here: