January 11, 2011 – Igor Ulanov Day
If you’re a nerd you might know that today’s date – 11/01/11 – in the binary number system would equate to 55. If you didn’t realize that then congratulations you’re not a giant nerd, but since I did, I think that we should all take some time today to remember the greatest 55 in Oilers history. Of course I could me nobody other than Igor Ulanov.
Originally drafted by the Jets at the 1991 NHL draft, Ulanov would also play for Washington, Chicago, Tampa Bay, and Montreal before finally arriving in Edmonton part way through the 1999/2000 season. Ulanov would play the rest of that year and all of the following – which statistically would be his best with 3-20-23 while playing 23:01 a night – before leaving for the Rangers as a free agent. From there he’d move on to Florida before returning to the Oilers as a free agent during the 2003/04 season. Sadly the year following the lockout would be his last in the NHL.
All told Ulanov would play just 160 games for the Oiler, recording 11-42-53 and 157 PIM. But even though he wasn’t around these parts for long he should always be remembered for the type of player that he was. Looking at his stats you instantly see that Ulanov wasn’t a scorer. In fact he was anything but. The guy was a tough as hell stay at home defenseman. He battle along the boards and in the corners. He’d block shots like it was going out of style. There were nights were it honestly seemed as if his goal was to block shots with his face just to show everyone just how tough he was. Theo Peckham would be a good comparable for Ulanov; Peckahm is still far too pretty though to be truly comparable.
In a story posted on OilersNation in November, this snippet about Ulanov can be found near the bottom.
Igor Ulanov is still legend at MSG. Two nights after taking a slapshot in the throat in Columbus with the Oilers to open a road trip in November of 2000, Ulanov took a puck in the mouth at MSG. Ulanov was spurting blood like he’d been shot in the face, but he wanted to finish the period before getting fixed up. He had to be dragged kicking, screaming and bleeding to the medical room. He needed something like 22 stitches to close the wound. Pain threshold of a cadaver.
The man was a warrior and tonight when the Oilers and Stars do battle I encourage you to take a moment to remember the great Igor Ulanov.