RENO, Nev. - An investigation into the shooting of former NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk concluded it was ''accidental under suspicious circumstances.''
Douglas County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jim Halsey said Friday that the probe into the Tuesday shooting at Malarchuk's Fish Springs home about 60 miles south of Reno was closed unless new evidence surfaces.
The 47-year-old Malarchuk, now a goalie coach for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, was taken to a Reno hospital after being shot in the chin. He has since been released.
Malarchuk and his wife, Joan, insist the shooting was accidental. The couple said Malarchuk had been shooting rabbits and the .22-calibre rifle discharged after he placed the butt on the ground between his legs.
Halsey said the couple had an argument, and it's unlikely the rifle would have discharged from being set down.
''Because of the circumstances, it could be attempted suicide, but he and his wife are adamant that it was an accident. So we're classifying it as accidental under suspicious circumstances,'' Halsey told The Associated Press. ''Unless we have some contrary evidence, the investigation is closed.''
Deputies said Malarchuk was unco-operative with paramedics and initially refused medical treatment after the shooting.
Joan Malarchuk told deputies that her husband had been drinking and he was not supposed to consume alcohol while taking his prescription medication.
Malarchuk, best known for having his jugular vein slashed by a skate in a 1989 game with Buffalo, was arrested in October 2007 on suspicion of disorderly conduct and obstructing and resisting a public officer after being asked to leave a Gardnerville bar south of Reno.
''Our concern is with Clint and his well being,'' the Blue Jackets said Thursday. ''We are optimistic that he will have a full recovery very soon.''
He played 10 seasons in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres.