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Phoenix Coyotes Preseason Countdown: 16 Days

Today's edition of our Preseason Countdown takes a look at one of the Coyotes' assistant coaches from before the Dave Tippett era.

Christian Petersen

A veteran of 16 NHL seasons with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman, two-time Stanley Cup Champion, and noted pest: Ulf Samuelsson contributed a lot to professional hockey. Boston Bruins fans seethe with anger any time this hit on Cam Neely is brought up in conversation, while others remember him for this punch to the face he took from the Toronto Maple Leafs' Tie Domi. With 2,453 PIMs in 1,080 games played, Samuelsson was a rough character on the ice.

Samuelsson's first NHL job behind the bench came in 2006, when he was first hired by the Phoenix Coyotes as an assistant under Wayne Gretzky. He would outlast The Great One as a Coyotes coach though, and in 2009 he was reunited with Hartford teammate Dave Tippett. Together they would help turn the Coyotes from a perennial doormat in the Western Conference to a playoff team.

The work that Tippett and Samuelsson accomplished in Phoenix got Ulf noticed back home in Sweden. In 2011, he left the Coyotes to become the head coach of MODO Hockey in the Swedish Elite League. He would remain there for three seasons, reaching the playoffs once and avoiding relegation once.

Today Samuelsson is back in the NHL as an assistant under Alain Vigneault with the Rangers organization. However his influence in Arizona lives on. He continues to make his home in Scottsdale, and his younger son Henrik was selected by the Coyotes in the 1st round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (a choice that was rendered ironic by the selection of Tie Domi's son Max in 2013 after the infamous history their two fathers share). Unlike his father though, Henrik will play up and try to become a scoring threat that the Coyotes desperately need in their system. But if he's anything like his dad, Henrik will likely be a tough opponent with an ability to mix things up on the ice.