Ulf Nilsson played all 170 of his NHL games with the New York Rangers. (THN Archives)
â€¨Status: WHA and NHL center from 1974-1983 with Winnipeg Jets and New York Rangers. Scored 57 goals and 169 points in 170 NHL games and 140 goals and 484 points in 300 WHA games.â€¨â€¨Career Accomplishments: Won Avco Cup with Jets in 1976 and 1978; WHA first team All-Star 1976, 1978; WHA playoff MVP 1976 - totaled seven goals in and 26 points in 13 games; Competed in Canada Cup in 1976 and 1981; Amassed at least 114 points in each of his WHA seasons; Two World Championship medals (silver in 1973, bronze in 1974); Member of Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 175 pounds
DOB: May 11, 1950 In: Nynashamn, Sweden
Residence: Stamford, Conn.
Family: Wife, Ana; children, Mikael, Daniel, Anna.
Hockey Heroes/ Inspirations: "Some of the Russians, Anatoli Firsov - right hand shot. That Russian team Anatoli Tarasov coached. I got a chance to play against some of them - Boris Mikhailov, Valeri Kharlamov. Also Pele and Kurt Hamlin, who played soccer with my father for AIK in Stockholm. They were heroes."
First Hockey Memory: "I grew up just south of Sweden, I was playing for Stockholm in the TV Puck tournament for 15- and 16-year-olds on TV. And we lost in the final, but I broke my collarbone after 26 seconds in the first period. Stepped on the ice, didn't even touch the puck. Got hit right away and broke my collarbone. Strange moment. Kind of sad moment, but a happy moment - for being picked for that team. Later on being selected by one of the AIK youth teams to represent Sweden in a tournament in Prague. That was a great moment."
Nicknames: “Ulfie, Projsarn - my father and brother were called. Anders.”
Pre-game Feeling: "Well, I had a pretty simple philosophy - start the game easy, with a simple pass, because then the game is kind of easy. Instead of trying to deke one or two or three guys, you can sort of dig a hole for yourself. If you start the game simple, with a pass that you can't really miss, then that creates good feelings. Then, one of my philosophies, also, is give 100 percent all the time. Each faceoff - I was a centerman - was life and death to me. Give 100 percent all the time; you're only as good as your last shift out there on the ice."
Favorite Movie: "Betrayed with Debra Winger and Tom Berenger"
Musical Tastes: "Softer rock: Billy Joel, Elton John."
Favorite Meal: "A good steak, with good red wine and potatoes."
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Vanilla."
Greatest Sports Moments: "One of the most memorable matches I played was with the Winnipeg Jets. Playing against the Russian national team in Jan. 1976 in Winnipeg. And we beat them 5-3 and Bobby Hull scored three goals and I scored two goals. Against the legendary line of Boris Mikhailov, Kharlamov and Vladimir Petrov. Also, my first year with the Rangers, we went to the Stanley Cup final against Montreal. That whole season was a lot of fun for me. I had quite a few good games, both on the road and in Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, I broke my ankle in February ('79)."
Most Painful Moment: "All the injuries. I've had quite a few. Cracked my top vertebrae in three places in 1972 in Sweden - running into the boards head-first. And all the knee problems. Dislocated my hip playing for Winnipeg; we were in training camp in 1976. Had hip replacement in 1994. And I've had nine knee operations. So, it's been... (laughs)."
Closest NHL Friends: "Anders Hedberg, Dave Maloney - a good friend of mine."
Funniest Players Encountered: "Funny and crazy at the same time was Don Murdoch. He lived life on the edge all the time, I think."
Toughest Competitors: "We had unbelievable battles against the Islanders. I have to give Bryan Trottier a lot of credit. I played against him a lot of the time. He was always a fair player, hard, tough. They had a really strong, good team. Some of the Canadiens defensemen were really good and strong – Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe. And I also played against some of the best, I think, Russians. They were really scientific professionals - Vasiliev, Alexander Gusev No. 2, they paired up. They were right before Fetisov came in. I mean, they were so, so, so good. They had everything – they were strong, they could skate, they could shoot. They were really scientific professionals in Russia. I don't think North America realized how good they were. They do now."
Funny Hockey Memory: "There were a lot of those. Some with Don Murdoch I think I can't tell you about now (smiles)."
How Would You Like To Be Remembered: "A hard-working player who always gave 100 percent. A really good playmaker. But someone that really gave it all at every second on the ice."
Personality Qualities Most Admired: "People who have leadership and are honest. But I think that comes with leadership. Leadership is the one trait that I really, really admire most. Very, very difficult to be a good leader. Because that's being a role model, someone that pushes to different heights, sets goals. If you're a good leader, you trust them. They're honest, have integrity."
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