Skip to main content

Todd Nelson

When Todd Nelson was growing up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan he always idolized the magnificent Paul Coffey.

“I enjoyed the way he played the game,” Nelson said. “Let’s face it, when he picked up the puck and got his feet moving, he was pretty to watch. He was the player I always wanted to be.”

Nelson got to watch Coffey a lot when the superstar played in nearby Edmonton with the Oilers. He continued to follow him closely when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

When Nelson was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL Draft, he dared not daydream about one day getting to play with his idol. But that is exactly what happened on November 23rd, 1991. Nelson was called up to fill in for Ulf Samuelsson, who came down with an illness.

When Nelson arrived in Pittsburgh, Coffey was the first person to greet him.

“As soon as I walked in, Paul Coffey came over to me and welcomed me to the team. Second guy was Mario (Lemieux)," said Nelson.

“It was a time they were winning Stanley Cups and I was a young guy just trying to cut my teeth in pro hockey,” Nelson said. “It was quite a time for me because we had so many great players in the organization. Walking into that dressing room, you were somewhat starstruck because you had quite a few hall of famers there. It was a good two-year run for them and I was fortunate to play one game for them.”

Yes, Nelson would only get into that one game. Paul Coffey he was not. He moved on to the Washington Capitals organization, playing two more NHL games for them. He even scored a goal.

He would play a decade in the minor leagues - a decade where he saw pretty much anything and everything. It helped him immensely when he stepped behind the bench and became one of the game's top young coaches.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M