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Terry Sawchuk

Sawchuk: The Troubles And Triumphs Of The World's Greatest Goalie

On January 10, an ankle injury forced Terry from the second period of a game at the Forum. He was expected to miss the next game against the Leafs two nights later, but ever the warrior, Terry recovered and suited up….

With sixty-three seconds left in the opening period, Terry dove to make his ninth save of the game and had Leaf Bob Pulford fall over his outstretched body. Terry put his catching hand down on the ice in an attempt to keep his balance. At that exact moment, Pulford, trying to get back on his own feet, accidentally stepped on the back of Terry's hand. The pain shot up Terry's left arm. Throwing off his glove, he looked at the back of his hand.

"It looked like a little cut at first," he said later, "then it opened up and I could see the knuckle bones. I tried to open my hand as I was going off the ice but the fingers snapped right under. Funny thing, it hurt very little."

Terry was rushed to Toronto East General Hospital, where he was diagnosed as having three severed tendons above the knuckle. The one-hour surgery included gouging the hand to refind the severed retracted tendons, multi-stitching to reconnect the tendons, and then closing the wound….

Terry's injury led to an innovation. Wings' trainer Lefty Wilson designed and attached a hard protective covering over the exposed knuckle area of Terry's catching glove. The feature was quickly adopted by all goalies in the NHL.

Source: Dupuis, David. Sawchuk: The Troubles and Triumphs of the World's Greatest Goalie. Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1998, pp. 158-159.

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