Bernie Nicholls

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Bernie Nicholls
Bernie Nicholls.jpg
Born (1961-06-24) June 24, 1961 (age 53)
Haliburton, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Los Angeles Kings
New York Rangers
Edmonton Oilers
New Jersey Devils
Chicago Blackhawks
San Jose Sharks
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 73rd overall, 1980
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 1981–1999

Bernard Irvine Nicholls (born June 24, 1961) is a former professional ice hockey centre. His junior career was spent with the Kingston Canadians, where he established himself as a dynamic scorer and a multi-faceted talent. He was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, 73rd overall. Over his 17-year playing career, Nicholls would play 1127 games[1] for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, scoring 1209 points. He is one of only 8 players in NHL history to score 70 goals in one season, and one of 5 to score 150 points. Nicholls was born in Haliburton, Ontario, but grew up in West Guilford, Ontario.

Playing career[edit]

After Nicholls was drafted, he played one more year of junior before making his professional debut with the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL. He scored 41 goals in 55 games as a rookie, and was recalled to the Kings on February 18, 1982 against the Calgary Flames to finish the season, where he had 32 points in 22 games, and was a contributor in the playoffs as the Kings upset the Edmonton Oilers to reach the second round. He also scored hat tricks in three straight home games in that rookie season.[1] Nicholls would never again play in the minor leagues.

For the next six-and-a-half years, Nicholls was a key offensive talent for the Kings, with his best year (a team record 70 goals[1] and 80 assists for 150 points in 79 games played) coming in 1988–89 after the team's acquisition of Wayne Gretzky. During that season, he became one of only 13 players in NHL history to record an eight-point game.[1] However, with Stanley Cup aspirations, the Kings made the decision (during the 1989–90 season) to trade the star centre for a pair of wingers. Nicholls left the Kings as that franchise's fifth all-time leading scorer[2] to join the New York Rangers, helping to propel his new club to the second round of the playoffs.

Although Nicholls performed well for the Rangers, he was dealt after less than two full seasons to the Oilers, as part of a blockbuster deal that saw Mark Messier join the Rangers. After just over a year with the Oilers organization, Nicholls saw himself traded again, this time to the New Jersey Devils, as Edmonton attempted to rebuild their team.

Nicholls adapted his game to become more of a defensive forward in the tight-checking system of then-Devils coach Jacques Lemaire.[3] When his contract expired, Nicholls signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he was allowed to take more offensive liberties. He averaged better than a point-per-game in Chicago.

Nicholls finished his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks. At the age of 36, and with a budding young franchise, Nicholls took on more of an elder statesman role.[1] At the end of the 1998–99 NHL season, Nicholls retired.

Nicholls won a silver medal in the 1985 World Ice Hockey Championships while playing for Canada.

In early 2012 he returned to the Los Angeles Kings as a coaching consultant.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Nicholls married Heather in 1986,[3] but they have since divorced.[5] The marriage produced twins, son Flynn and daughter McKenna. They also had a son, Jack Jagger Nicholls, born on November 25, 1992 who died six days before his first birthday on Nov. 19, 1993.[3]

Awards[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1978–79 Kingston Canadians OMJHL 2 0 1 1 0
1979–80 Kingston Canadians OMJHL 68 36 43 79 85 3 1 0 1 10
1980–81 Kingston Canadians OHL 65 63 89 152 109 14 8 10 18 17
1981–82 New Haven Nighthawks AHL 55 41 30 71 31
1981–82 Los Angeles Kings NHL 22 14 18 32 27 10 4 0 4 23
1982–83 Los Angeles Kings NHL 71 28 22 50 124
1983–84 Los Angeles Kings NHL 78 41 54 95 83
1984–85 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 46 54 100 76 3 1 1 2 9
1985–86 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 36 61 97 78
1986–87 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 33 48 81 101 5 2 5 7 6
1987–88 Los Angeles Kings NHL 65 32 46 78 114 5 2 6 8 11
1988–89 Los Angeles Kings NHL 79 70 80 150 96 11 7 9 16 12
1989–90 Los Angeles Kings NHL 47 27 48 75 66
1989–90 New York Rangers NHL 32 12 25 37 20 10 7 5 12 16
1990–91 New York Rangers NHL 71 25 48 73 96 5 4 3 7 8
1991–92 New York Rangers NHL 1 0 0 0 0
1991–92 Edmonton Oilers NHL 49 20 29 49 60 16 8 11 19 25
1992–93 Edmonton Oilers NHL 46 8 32 40 40
1992–93 New Jersey Devils NHL 23 5 15 20 40 5 0 0 0 6
1993–94 New Jersey Devils NHL 61 19 27 46 86 16 4 9 13 28
1994–95 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 48 22 29 51 32 16 1 11 12 8
1995–96 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 59 19 41 60 60 10 2 7 9 4
1996–97 San Jose Sharks NHL 65 12 33 45 63
1997–98 San Jose Sharks NHL 60 6 22 28 26 6 0 5 5 8
1998–99 San Jose Sharks NHL 10 0 2 2 4
OHL/OMJHL totals 135 99 133 232 194 17 9 10 19 27
NHL totals 1127 475 734 1209 1292 118 42 72 114 164

Transactions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Sarah Sotoodeh (February 28, 2012). "Q And A With Bernie Nicholls". LAKings.com News. Los Angeles Kings. 
  2. ^ Hammond, Rich (June 2, 2008). "Catching up with…Bernie Nicholls". insidesocal.com. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Murphy, Austin (April 3, 1995). "On Top Again". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "NHL notes: Kings mine Nicholls to boost offence". London Free Press. QMI Agency. January 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ Crowe, Jerry (April 19, 2010). "Bernie Nicholls turned job as Wayne Gretzky's sidekick into starring role with Kings". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 

External links[edit]