It was as dirty as dirty gets, a cheap shot by every definition, and it ultimately ruined Cam Neely's promising NHL career prematurely.
It was Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, on this day in 1991. The Bruins were playing the Penguins. Neely was the Bruins leading goal scorer. Ulf Samuelsson was a thug dressed as a hockey player. He was sent on the ice to do one thing, and he accomplished it, issuing a cheap shot on Neely's knee that ultimately ruined the popular player's career.
The Penguins won the series and the Stanley Cup that year. Neely developed a degenerative knee condition, played in 22 games total the next two seasons and was ultimately held to 162 total games the rest of his career.
He was only 25 when Samuelsson hit him.
Neely had scored 50 goals and eclipsed 90 points in back-to-back seasons before this injury. He was a four-time All-Star, one of the most popular players in the NHL and seemed destined for a Hall-of-Fame career. Unfortunately, he was never the same, though he did score 50 goals in just 49 games during the 1993-94 season.
Neely is now the President of the Bruins and remains one of the most popular players in the team's history. Samuelsson played until the 1999-2000 season and is known as one of the dirtiest players in NHL history. If only he hadn't taken that shot at Neely all those years ago today, we wouldn't wonder what-if?