Chris Nilan

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Chris Nilan
Born(1958-02-09) February 9, 1958 (age 56)
Boston, MA, USA
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
PositionForward
Played forMontreal Canadiens
New York Rangers
Boston Bruins
NHL Draft231st overall, 1978
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career1979–1992
 
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Chris Nilan
Born(1958-02-09) February 9, 1958 (age 56)
Boston, MA, USA
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
PositionForward
Played forMontreal Canadiens
New York Rangers
Boston Bruins
NHL Draft231st overall, 1978
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career1979–1992

Christopher John Nilan (born February 9, 1958) is a retired professional ice hockey player and current radio host. Nilan played 688 NHL regular season games as a right-wing for the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers between 1980 and 1992. He won the Stanley Cup in 1986 with Montreal. Known as "Knuckles," he was famous for his propensity to fight. Nilan's life and career is prominently featured in the 2011 documentary film 'The Last Gladiators' by filmmaker Alex Gibney.

Playing career[edit]

Nilan grew up in Massachusetts where he idolized Bobby Orr and dreamed of playing for the Boston Bruins. He played his youth hockey with the Parkway (West Roxbury, MA) team of the Greater Boston Youth Hockey League (GBYHL), sponsored by the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC). He later played college hockey for the Northeastern University Huskies, from 1976 to 1979, averaging 3.5 penalty minutes per game in his final collegiate season.

Nilan was selected 231st overall in the 1978 NHL Entry Draft, and was best known as a tough-guy for the Montreal Canadiens in the mid 1980s. One of only nine players in NHL history to have recorded more than 3,000 career penalty minutes, he holds the records of highest penalty minute average per game at 4.42 minutes per game, as well as the record for most penalties in a single game. It was March 31, 1991, when Hartford played at Boston. Nilan was penalized a record ten penalties; six minors, two majors, one misconduct and one game misconduct, for a total of 42 penalty minutes.[1]

Seriously hobbled by repeated injuries, Nilan missed over two hundred games in his final five seasons, and retired after the 1992 season. Highlights of his career include winning the Stanley Cup in 1986 while with the Canadiens, being named to play for Team USA in the 1987 Canada Cup and his controversial all-star selection to the 1991 NHL All-Star Game by his then-coach Mike Milbury (Nilan missed the game with a broken left ankle), which led to changes in how players are selected for all-star games.

Post career[edit]

Nilan returned to the Boston area and went into the insurance business after retirement. He spent three years as community relations consultant for John Hancock Insurance[citation needed] before returning to hockey as a coach. He was initially hired as an assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils on August 3, 1995, and remained in that position until May 1996, before becoming a head coach for the Chesapeake Icebreakers of the ECHL.

In 2009, Nilan was arrested in Braintree, Massachusetts for shoplifting after attempting to leave a Lord & Taylor store wearing a pair of Tommy Bahama swim shorts underneath the shorts he wore in. Nilan struggled with store security before police officers managed to subdue him. "I just wanted to save a few bucks," he told police.[2] The case was dismissed with Nilan being ordered to pay $100 in court costs.

Nilan was married to Karen Stanley in 1981. They were divorced in 2006. They have two daughters, Pauline and Tara, and one son, Christopher. Karen was a daughter of Theresa Stanley, who was one of notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger's girlfriends. Here is a picture of Nilan and Bulger together with the Stanley Cup

Today Nilan talks openly about his past problems with alcohol and prescription drugs, as well as battling a heroin addiction. Nowadays he has a girlfriend and is involved in numerous social and charitable causes. Nilan also speaks to local students in Montreal about learning from his life experiences and mistakes.

Nilan lived in Oregon for two years, and most recently, moved back to Montreal where his professional hockey career was made.

He began hosting his own program, "Off the Cuff" on TSN Radio 690 Montreal, on March 18, 2013, after being a daily phone-in guest on Melnick in the Afternoon for a number of months. He is on the air from noon to 3:00 p.m. weekdays local time, also streaming live on the internet.

Awards[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular seasonPlayoffs
SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIMGPGAPtsPIM
1979–80Montreal CanadiensNHL150225050002
1980–81Montreal CanadiensNHL57781526220000
1981–82Montreal CanadiensNHL497411204511222
1982–83Montreal CanadiensNHL66681421330005
1983–84Montreal CanadiensNHL761610263381510181
1984–85Montreal CanadiensNHL772116373581221381
1985–86Montreal CanadiensNHL7219153427418123141
1986–87Montreal CanadiensNHL44416202661730375
1987–88Montreal CanadiensNHL507512209
1987–88New York RangersNHL2235896
1988–89New York RangersNHL387714177401138
1989–90New York RangersNHL2512359401119
1990–91Boston BruinsNHL4169152771902262
1991–92Boston BruinsNHL395510186
1991–92Montreal CanadiensNHL1713474701115
NHL totals68811011522530431118917541

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]