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Ulf Samuelsson
Selected in fourth round
No. 67 overall by Hartford Whalers

Born March 26, 1964
Position: Defense
Height: 6-1   Weight: 195
Last Team: Leksand (Sweden)                           
Birthplace: Fagersta, Sweden
Hometown: Fagersta, Sweden
Year TeamLeague GPG ATP PIM
1980-81 FagerstaSweden 2211 516 --
1981-82 LeksandSweden 313 14 40

World Junior Championships:
1982 (fifth place)
European Junior Championships: 1982 (gold medal)
European Junior Championships All-Star First Team: 1982
Miscellaneous: Grew up in Sweden as a Borje Salming fan, idolizing his countryman who opened doors to Swedes by becoming NHL star.
Debut: October 11, 1984 (Hartford at N.Y. Rangers)
Numbers:  5 (Hartford); 5 (Pittsburgh); 5 (N.Y. Rangers); 2 (Detroit); 55 (Philadelphia)
Stanley Cup: 1991, 1992.  Status: Retired February 12, 2001
YearsTeams GPG ATP PIM
1984-2000 Hartford, Pitt., NYR,
Detroit, Philadelphia
1,080 57275 3322,453
Years TeamsGP GA TPPIM
1986-1999 HAR, PIT, NYR, DET132 727 34272

Hockey News NHL All-Star Third Team:
1986-87 (Hartford)
Hartford Kravitz Award (MVP): 1987-88
Hartford Most Valuable Defenseman: 1986-87, 1987-88
Hartford Emery Edge Award (+/- Leader): 1986-87 (plus-28)
Pittsburgh Penguins Hall of Fame: Inducted 2003
Pittsburgh Defensive Player of Year: 1993-94, 1995
Hartford Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1988-89 (181)
Pittsburgh Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1993-94 (199)
Pittsburgh Playoffs Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1993 (24, tie)
N.Y. Rangers Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1998-99 (93)
N.Y. Rangers Playoffs Penalty-Minutes Leader: 1996 (16, tie)
Miscellaneous: Finished 10th in voting for 1986-87 Norris Trophy. ... Missed part of 1988-89 season with the flu, an illness contracted in December 1988. ... Scored Stanley Cup-clinching goal in Game 6 of finals for Pittsburgh in 1991. Samuelsson's goal at 2:00 of the first period gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead over Minnesota in an 8-0 win on May 25, 1991. ... Missed start of Pittsburgh's 1991 training camp with broken collarbone, an injury suffered when hit by Team Canada's 18-year-old Eric Lindros during 1991 Canada Cup tournament game in Toronto. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with hip flexor injury, suffered during Pittsburgh's Oct. 29, 1991, game vs. Washington. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season so that he could go home to Sweden and attend his father's funeral in November 1991. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with bone chips in right elbow, an injury that required surgery on Dec. 12, 1991. ... Missed parts of 1991-92 season with bruised left hand, an injury suffered during Pittsburgh's Feb. 8, 1992, game vs. Los Angeles, and with the flu, contracted in February 1992. ... Missed parts of 1992-93 season with strained shoulder, suffered during Pittsburgh's Nov. 10, 1992, game at Minnesota, with broken cheekbone, suffered in fight with Dale Hunter during Pittsburgh's Nov. 27, 1992, game at Washington, and with bruised knee, an injury suffered while playing with his son in January 1993. ... Suspended one game by NHL (automatic suspension) in February 1993 for getting third non-stick related game misconduct during Pittsburgh's Feb. 13, 1993, game vs. Chicago. The misconduct resulted from his role in a multi-player brawl at 19:09 of the first period. ... Suspended three off-days by NHL for stick-swinging incident with Mark Messier during Pittsburgh's March 5, 1993, game at N.Y. Rangers. Both players were given match penalties for the incident and both were suspended for three off-days and fined $500 by the NHL on March 18, 1993. As a result, Samuelsson lost $8,697 in salary and Messier lost $25,545. ... Missed part of 1992-93 season with back spasms, an injury suffered during Pittsburgh's April 3, 1993, game at Quebec. ... Scored in overtime on April 7, 1993, vs. Montreal, enabling Pittsburgh to tie NHL record of 15 consecutive wins. The Penguins broke the record two nights later. ... Finished fourth among 1992-93 NHL plus-minus leaders with a plus-36 rating. ... Missed parts of 1993-94 season with knee injury, suffered during Pittsburgh's Nov. 2, 1993, game at San Jose, and with bruised foot, an injury suffered during Pittsburgh's Dec. 14, 1993, game vs. Los Angeles. ... Missed part of 1995 season with bone chips in right elbow, an injury suffered during Pittsburgh's March 19, 1995, game at Ottawa. The injury required minor surgery on March 23, 1995. ... Missed part of 1995 season with bruised knee, an injury suffered during Pittsburgh's April 28, 1995, game vs. Boston. ... Missed remainder of 1995 playoffs with broken ribs, suffered during Game 7 of Pittsburgh's first-round series vs. Washington on May 18, 1995. ... Missed parts of 1995-96 season with mild concussion, an injury suffered during N.Y. Rangers' Oct. 14, 1995, game at Toronto, and with separated shoulder, an injury suffered during N.Y. Rangers' Oct. 22, 1995, game vs. Ottawa. ... Missed part of 1995-96 season with bone chips in elbow, requiring arthroscopic surgery on Dec. 27, 1995. ... Missed part of 1996-97 season with sprained knee, an injury suffered during N.Y. Rangers' Oct. 25, 1996, game at Florida. He did not return to action until N.Y. Rangers' Nov. 16, 1996, game at Pittsburgh. ... Missed parts of 1997-98 season with the flu, contracted in October 1997, with strained rib muscle, an injury suffered during N.Y. Rangers' Nov. 28, 1997, game at Buffalo, with sprained right knee, an injury suffered during N.Y. Rangers' Jan. 3, 1998, game at Washington, and with deep cut above left eye, an injury suffered during N.Y. Rangers' March 28, 1998, game at Pittsburgh. ... Missed part of 1998-99 season with concussion, suffered during N.Y. Rangers' March 7, 1999, game at Boston. ... Played in his 1,000th career NHL game for N.Y. Rangers on Jan. 13, 1999, vs. N.Y. Islanders. ... Missed part of 1998-99 season with broken foot, an injury suffered during N.Y. Rangers' March 21, 1999, game vs. Pittsburgh. During this time, he was traded to Detroit for two future draft picks on March 23, 1999. He did not return to action until Detroit's April 9, 1999, game at St. Louis. ... Paired on defense with Chris Chelios for Detroit toward end of 1998-99 season. ... Traded by Detroit to Atlanta for future considerations on June 25, 1999, but never played for Thrashers because he was on the verge of Group III free agency at time of deal and Atlanta was looking to obtain the compensation draft pick associated with Samuelsson's signing elsewhere. ... Signed two-year, $4.55 million contract with Philadelphia as a Group III unrestricted free agent on Oct. 19, 1999. He took the Flyers' offer because no other team was willing to give him a two-year deal. ... Missed parts of 1999-00 season with sprained left shoulder, suffered during Philadelphia's Dec. 5, 1999, game vs. St. Louis, and with the flu, contracted in February 2000. ... Missed part of 1999-00 season with shoulder injury, suffered in Philadelphia's Feb. 15, 2000, game at New Jersey. He did not return until Philadelphia's March 5, 2000, game vs. N.Y. Islanders. ... Missed remainder of 1999-00 regular season and entire 2000 playoffs with sprained right knee, an injury suffered during Philadelphia's April 1, 2000, game at Pittsburgh. ... Struggled with continued knee problems, as well as a shoulder injury, during Philadelphia's 2000 training camp. He was unable to play in any 2000-01 season games and eventually decided he wanted to pursue other interests. As a result, he retired in February 2001 at age 36, leaving the NHL ranked 18th on its all-time penalty minutes list.
Summer Bummer: Samuelsson missed Hartford's 1989 training camp and the first third of the 1989-90 regular season with torn ACL in his left knee, an injury he suffered while engaged in off-ice training in Sweden on July 16, 1989. In fact, he was jumping back and forth over a rock as part of his pylometric exercise regimen at the time the injury took place. At first, the injury required only minor arthroscopic surgery, but the damage could not be fully repaired by such methods. After consulting with doctors in North America, Samuelsson was told he could rest the knee for two months and then test it with a brace or undergo immediate surgery in Sweden. Hartford doctor Vincent Turco suggested Samuelsson simply rest the knee, but Samuelsson was confident in his Swedish surgeon. Hartford general manager Ed Johnston left the decision up to Samuelsson, who chose to go under the knife. Samuelsson's knee was finally subjected to major surgery, performed by Dr. Lars Petersson, on Aug. 2, 1989, in Goteborg, Sweden. Sadly, it took place just a month after Samuelsson's July 1, 1989, wedding and subsequent honeymoon in Monte Carlo. Swedish doctors said Samuelsson would not play for six to eight months, and they placed him in a cast for the first month after surgery. Hartford, however, knew strength and conditioning coach Doug McKenney could work with Samuelsson to shorten his recovery time. The hope was to have Samuelsson back by January, but thanks to his conditioning regime, he came back even earlier. On Nov. 27, 1989, Dr. Petersson told the Whalers that Samuelsson was ready to play again. Although unsure he was really ready to come back, Samuelsson made his 1989-90 season debut for Hartford on Nov. 28, 1989, vs. Buffalo.
The Neely Hit: Samuelsson's knee-on-knee hit against Boston's Cam Neely during the 1991 Stanley Cup playoffs nearly ended Neely's career and left Samuelsson with the fans' labels of "dirty player" and "cheap-shot artist" for the remainder of his NHL career. The incident took place during Game 3 of Pittsburgh's Wales Conference finals series vs. Boston on May 5, 1991. Although Neely was able to play in Boston's final three 1991 playoff games, damage to his leg caused him to develop a degenerative muscle condition in his thigh and kept him out of all but nine games in 1991-92. Problems related to the injury, including subsequent knee damage that required surgery, prevented Neely from ever playing another full season and led to his premature retirement five years later at age 31. Pittsburgh went on to eliminate Boston from the playoffs and then beat Minnesota for the Stanley Cup. After Game 3, in which Neely was hurt, Boston coach Mike Milbury accused Pittsburgh coach Bob Johnson and the Penguins of "goonism." Six days after the hit, when Pittsburgh won the series in six games, the teams engaged in the traditional handshake at center ice. Neely, however, refused to shake Samuelsson's hand. The gritty Swede became Public Enemy No. 1 in Boston for years to come. Samuelsson later admitted that he felt bad about the hit on Neely, but did not believe it was a dirty hit, since Neely had unexpectedly turned his body into the hit, causing more damage that was ever intended.
Post-Draft Teams: Leksand (Sweden); Binghamton (AHL)
Olympics: 1998 (5-8 place)
NHL-USSR Rendez-vous Series: 1987
Canada Cup: 1991 (fourth place)
World Championships: 1985 (sixth place), 1990 (silver medal)
World Junior Championships: 1983 (fourth place), 1984 (fifth place)
Played on AHL regular-season champion (Binghamton).
Miscellaneous: Completed two-year military commitment in Sweden before coming to North America in 1984. ... Was among last players cut from Sweden's 1984 Canada Cup team before arriving at Hartford's 1984 training camp. ... Played with Leksand (Sweden) during 1994-95 NHL lockout. ... Worked as electrician and banker while attending school in Sweden during off-seasons of his early NHL playing days. ... Spent majority of summers in his native Sweden. ... Was active in charitable causes during his playing days in New York, including work with Kidney Foundation, for which he staged annual Ulf Samuelsson Golf Tournament. ... Returned to his home in Morristown, N.J., after retirement and focused his business efforts on managing a used-car dealership which he co-owned in Pittsburgh. ... Also scouted NHL players for Team Sweden and worked as TV color commentator for Swedish television station during 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Citizenship Dispute: Samuelsson found himself at the center of an Olympic-sized controversy during the Nagano Winter Games in February 1998. Samuelsson played in Sweden's first three games, but as the teams prepared for the medal round, and Sweden prepared to face Finland, the International Olympic Committee kicked Samuelsson out of the Games because of a dispute over his citizenship. The controversy stemmed from Samuelsson's having applied for and been granted a United States passport during his years in the NHL. This had been done so he wouldn't have to keep applying for a green card to play each season in the United States and not because he intended to give up his Swedish citizenship. However, Samuelsson didn't realize that although the U.S. allowed for dual citizenship, Sweden did not. Thus, Samuelsson's U.S. passport technically voided his Swedish citizenship. The passport protest was filed by the Czechs, who hoped that Sweden would be forced to forfeit the results of their preliminary round games, thus enabling the Czech Republic to draw an easier quarterfinal opponent. Russia, which had finished first in group play, disputed this, saying that they should not have to play Sweden in the quarters. To resolve the matter, the IOC's Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Samuelsson could not continue to play for Sweden, but the Swedes would not have to forfeit any of their earlier victories. The decision was a harsh blow to Samuelsson, who in an uncharacteristic moment, was reduced to tears because he couldn't help his country in a key game. Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation at the time, called the entire incident "very sad for hockey."
TRADE: Hartford traded Samuelsson, Ron Francis and Grant Jennings to Pittsburgh in exchange for John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski on March 4, 1991.

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Goaltenders: 18
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Tier II/Jr. B: 27/4
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