Todd Nelson was a Paul Coffey fan, watching him play for the Oilers and Penguins from his hometown of Prince Albert, SK.
“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 was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL Draft. He’d get his first call up with the Penguins on November 23, 1991, filling in for an ill Ulf Samuelsson. And guess who was there to greet him when he walked through the door.
“As soon as I walked in, Paul Coffey came over to me and welcomed me to the team. Second guy was Mario (Lemieux).”
The Oilers interim coach only played one game for the Penguins in his career, but it was a good time to be a part of the organization. Being greeted by Coffey upon his arrival was just one of the moments from his stint with Pittsburgh Nelson will never forget.
“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.”