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Chris Nilan

Born: February 9, 1958Draft:1978 Canadiens #231 Overall
Hometown:Boston, MAPosition:Right Wing
Known For:“Knuckles”Shoots:Right
National Team:United StatesCurrent Status:Retired

Christopher John Nilan (born February 9, 1958) is an American former professional ice hockey player and current radio host. Nilan played 688 National Hockey League (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” or “Nuck”, he was famous for his propensity to fight. He holds a record for most penalty minutes by an American-born player. Nilan’s life and career are prominently featured in Alex Gibney’s 2011 documentary film The Last Gladiators.

Chris Nilan Boston Bruins
Chris Nilan, Boston Bruins (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Chris Nilan Statistics

Deeper Dive


  • NHL All-Star Game (Injured) (1991)
  • Stanley Cup Champion (Canadiens – 1986)
  • NHL Most Penalized Player (1984, 1985)
  • Holds the record for most penalty minutes by an American-born player