Retired NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk, who nearly died after taking a skate blade to the neck during a game in 1989 and attempted to take his own life in 2008, released his autobiography — “A Matter of Inches” — in November. It’s apparently a doozy.

“I hated writing it,” Malarchuk told the Buffalo News. “It was one of the hardest things I ever did, to go back and all that emotion and everything. If I was going to do it, I wanted to just get everything out there. I didn’t want to half-way anything. It’s a book, so it should be the real deal.”

The real deal also features plenty of light-hearted moments from Malarchuk’s life and career, including the fun he had with former Capitals player and coach Dale Hunter. Malarchuk and Hunter were teammates in Quebec before being traded to Washington in June 1987.

A Twitter user posted a couple of pages from Malarchuk’s book, one of which included a story about the time the Capitals met President Ronald Reagan. Malarchuk and Reagan talked old westerns.

“It was a very special time in my life,” Reagan kept saying about his days on the silver screen.

“I bet it was,” I said. “It sure beat the Bonzo the chimp thing.”

“Oh, oh, yeah,” he said, almost as though he didn’t want to talk about it. He told me how great it had been to get paid to ride horses and have fun back then. And then I kind of ruined it by forgetting that we weren’t in a locker room. I asked him about Barbara Stanwyck. She was a hot old cougar back then.

“Between you and me, I said, “you ever take a run at that?”

President Reagan went “No but I sure would have liked to.”

Then he shook my hand and walked away.

Malarchuk, who played two seasons in Washington, wrote that Hunter was a “hillbilly redneck” like him, though he preferred the term “cowboy.” Malarchuk and Hunter, fellow Canadians, roomed and played pranks on teammates together.

We did the Saran Wrap the toilet seats gag–not a very elaborate prank, but it always earned a laugh. At restaurants, Dale was notorious for standing next to you at the urinal and then just pissing on your foot. You wouldn’t realize it until there was a pool of piss on your boot. But he wouldn’t just do it to a teammate. He’d do it to any guy.

“Oh my, I’m sorry,” he’d say.

Everybody had jokes, but not like Dale. One time, we stole the doors of Garry Galley’s Jeep in the middle of winter. We put it all in the trunk of Dale’s car. It was damn cold out.

For as much as they liked to joke around, Malarchuk and Hunter were capable of putting on a serious face. Here’s how former Post reporter Steve Berkowitz described their first meeting with the D.C. media after being traded from Quebec:

Are Dale Hunter and Clint Malarchuk happy about the trade last Saturday that sent them from the Quebec Nordiques to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Gaetan Duchesne, Alan Haworth and a first-round draft choice?

During the initial stages of a media luncheon at the Greenbelt Hilton yesterday, it was hard to tell.

“I’ve never seen four more serious-looking guys,” one member of the Capitals’ entourage said as the two straight-faced players displayed their new sweaters with help from straight-faced General Manager David Poile and straight-faced Coach Bryan Murray.

(Thanks to @reefa_k and @JapersRink.)

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)