Ulf Nilsson (ice hockey)

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Ulf Nilsson
Ulf Nilsson (ishockeyspelare).jpg
Nilsson in 2008
Born (1950-05-11) 11 May 1950 (age 65)
Nynäshamn, SWE
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 175 lb (79 kg; 12 st 7 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for AIK IF (SEL)
Winnipeg Jets (WHA)
New York Rangers (NHL)
Springfield Indians (AHL)
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1967–1983

Ulf Gösta "Lill-Pröjsarn" Nilsson (born 11 May 1950 in Nynäshamn, Sweden) is a former professional ice hockey player who played for the Winnipeg Jets, the New York Rangers, the Springfield Indians and the Tulsa Oilers.

Career in North America[edit]

Part of the first major wave of Europeans to star in North American hockey, he was a major star in the WHA from 1974 to 1978. He scored at least 114 points in each of his four seasons in the upstart league, finishing third or fourth among overall scorers every time. He led the WHA with 85 assists in 1976–77, and tied Marc Tardif for the lead the next season with 89. Along with countryman Anders Hedberg and established superstar Bobby Hull, he played a starring role as the Jets won Avco Cup titles in 1976 and 1978. In the 1976 playoffs, he scored 26 points in just 13 games and was named WHA Playoff MVP.[1]

In the summer of 1978, Nilsson and Hedberg signed with the NHL's New York Rangers for $2.4 million, further weakening the struggling WHA which would cease operations after just one more season. Nilsson's NHL career was marred by two significant injuries. The first was a broken ankle suffered when his skate blade got caught in a crevice in the Madison Square Garden ice as he was hit by Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders, which resulted in Nilsson bearing the entire force of the hit on only one leg. Although Nilsson has never characterized the hit as dirty and, in 2009, said, "He [Potvin] was always fair. But the ice was never great in the Garden because they had basketball and other events. My foot got caught. It was a freak thing," the incident is nevertheless commemorated by the "Potvin Sucks" chant that takes place during every Rangers home game.[2]

Nilsson's second serious injury was to his knee while representing Sweden at the 1981 Canada Cup which caused him to miss the entire 1981–82 season.[3] Nilsson was limited to 160 games in his three full seasons with the Rangers, though he scored an impressive 163 points in that time. He scored 8 goals and 16 points in the 1980–81 playoffs as the Rangers advanced to the semi-finals before being eliminated by their local rivals, the defending champion Islanders. After missing the previous season, he returned to the Rangers lineup for ten games early in the 1982–83 season.

Use of banned substances[edit]

Nilsson tested positive for ephedrine after Sweden's 4–1 victory over Poland on April 6, 1974, at the 1974 World Ice Hockey Championships. As a result, Sweden's win was vacated, and Poland was awarded a 5–0 walkover win.[4] Nilsson was suspended for the remainder of the tournament.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1974–75 Winnipeg Jets WHA 78 26 94 120 79
1975–76 Winnipeg Jets WHA 78 38 76 114 84 13 7 19 26 6
1976–77 Winnipeg Jets WHA 71 39 85 124 89 20 6 21 27 33
1977–78 Winnipeg Jets WHA 73 37 89 126 89 9 1 13 14 12
1978–79 New York Rangers NHL 59 27 39 66 21 2 0 0 0 2
1979–80 New York Rangers NHL 50 14 44 58 20 9 0 6 6 2
1980–81 New York Rangers NHL 51 14 25 39 42 14 8 8 16 23
1981–82 Springfield Indians AHL 2 0 0 0 0
1982–83 New York Rangers NHL 10 2 4 6 2
1982–83 Tulsa Oilers CHL 3 2 1 3 4
NHL totals 170 57 112 169 85 25 8 14 22 27
WHA totals 300 140 344 484 341 42 14 53 67 51

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ulf Nilsson". hockey-reference.com. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ Vecsey, George (February 24, 2009). "Potvin Chant Endures with a Smile, Not a Snarl". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Ulf Nilsson". New York Rangers. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Sports in Brief". Chicago Tribune. April 9, 1974. p. 7 (Section 3). Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Ulf Nilsson". Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ WHA Hall of Fame Members

External links[edit]