Espen Knutsen

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Espen Knutsen
Born (1972-01-12) January 12, 1972 (age 42)
Oslo, NOR
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 187 lb (85 kg; 13 st 5 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for NHL
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Columbus Blue Jackets
SEL
Djurgården
National team  Norway
NHL Draft 204th overall, 1990
Hartford Whalers
Playing career 1988–2005

Kjell Espen Knutsen Jahre (born January 12, 1972) is a retired Norwegian professional ice hockey player and currently the head coach of Vålerenga in the Norwegian GET-ligaen. He played five seasons in the North American-based National Hockey League (NHL), and is to date the only Norwegian to have played in the NHL All-Star Game. In his native Norway, Knutsen is also known by the nickname "Shampoo"[1] because his father is a hairdresser, and also a former hockey player whose nickname was "The Soap" (Såpa in Norwegian).

Playing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

After being drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the 10th round (204th overall) in 1990, Knutsen remained in Europe until 1997, playing for his hometown team Vålerenga, and later Djurgården of the Swedish Elitserien. In 1996, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim acquired his rights,[2] and he made his debut with the Ducks in 1997. After a disappointing season (playing in part for the American Hockey League (AHL) Cincinnati Mighty Ducks), Knutsen returned to Djurgården. During the 1999–00 season, he was the highest paid player in the Elitserien, earning a salary of $280,000.[3]

NHL career[edit]

Knutsen got a second chance in the NHL in 2000, when he signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets on the recommendation of assistant coach George Kingston, who had previously coached the Norwegian national team. In a very good first season, Knutsen tallied 53 points (11 goals, 42 assists) in 66 games. His numbers dropped a little the next season, but he was nonetheless named to the World Team (as an injury replacement) in the 2002 All-Star Game (making him the first Norwegian ever to play in the NHL All-Star Game). The 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons were disappointing for Knutsen, who spent large parts of the seasons on the injured list. He left the NHL in early 2005, shortly after being assigned to Columbus' AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and once again returned to Djurgården.

Retirement[edit]

Knutsen retired because of injury in July 2005. At the news of his retirement, the general manager of Djurgården, Tommy Engström, called him one of the greatest players in the history of the club.[4] After his retirement, Knutsen moved back to his native Oslo, where he lives with his family. He is currently head coach at Vålerenga, the team where he started his career.

Fan death[edit]

In a 2002 game against the Calgary Flames in Nationwide Arena, Knutsen took a shot that deflected off of Flames defenseman Derek Morris' stick and struck 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil in the head, resulting in her death.[5] Knutsen later helped set up a charity in Columbus to honor Cecil's memory. Also as a result of the tragedy, the NHL made it mandatory to install protective nylon mesh nets above the glass behind both goals.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1988–89 Vålerenga NOR 36 14 7 21 18
1989–90 Vålerenga NOR 40 25 28 53 44
1990–91 Vålerenga NOR 31 30 24 54 42
1991–92 Vålerenga NOR 30 28 26 54 37
1992–93 Vålerenga NOR 13 11 13 24 4
1993–94 Vålerenga NOR 38 32 26 58 20
1994–95 Djurgården SEL 30 6 14 20 18 3 0 1 1 0
1995–96 Djurgården SEL 32 10 23 33 50 4 1 0 1 2
1996–97 Djurgården SEL 39 16 33 49 20 4 2 4 6 6
1997–98 Cincinnati Mighty Ducks AHL 41 4 13 17 18
1997–98 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 19 3 0 3 6
1998–99 Djurgården SEL 39 18 24 42 32 4 0 1 1 2
1999–00 Djurgården SEL 48 18 35 53 65 13 5 16 21 2
2000–01 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 66 11 42 53 30
2001–02 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 77 11 31 42 47
2002–03 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 31 5 4 9 20
2003–04 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 14 0 4 4 2
2003–04 Syracuse Crunch AHL 2 1 1 2 0
2003–04 Vålerenga NOR 1 0 0 0 4
2003–04 Djurgården SEL 6 2 3 5 4 3 0 0 0 6
2004–05 Djurgården SEL 15 0 8 8 12
NHL totals 207 30 81 111 105

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brittanie's legacy". Blue Jackets Xtra.com. Retrieved March 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Espen Knutsen' Profile". Legends of Hockey.com. Retrieved March 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ Diamond, Dan, ed. (2002). Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League, Second Edition. New York: Total Sports Publishing. p. 104. ISBN 1-894963-16-4. 
  4. ^ "Espen Knutsens karriär över". difhockey.se (in Swedish). Djurgårdens IF Hockey. 25 July 2005. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  5. ^ Taylor, Phil (2002-04-01). "Death of a fan". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 

External links[edit]