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Kjell Espen Knutsen (born 12 January 1972) is a former Norwegianmarker ice hockey player. He played five seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), and is to date the only Norwegian to have played in the NHL All-Star Game. In his native Norway, Knutsen is also known by the nickname "Shampoo" (because his father is a hairdresser, and also a former hockey player whose nickname was "Soap" (S√•pa in Norwegian)). He is 6 feet tall (183 cm), weighs 187 lb (85 kg), shoots left and played the centre position during his professional career.

After being drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the 10th round (204th overall) in 1990, Knutsen remained in Europe until 1997, playing for his hometown team Vålerenga, and later Djurgården of the Swedishmarker Elite League. In 1996, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim acquired his rights, and he made his debut with the Ducks in 1997. After a disappointing season (playing in part for the American Hockey League Cincinnati Mighty Ducks), Knutsen returned to Djurgården.

Knutsen got a second chance in the NHL in 2000, when he signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets on the recommendation of assistant coach George Kingston, who had previously coached the Norwegian national team. In a very good first season, Knutsen tallied 53 points (11 goals, 42 assists) in 66 games. His numbers dropped a little the next season, but he was nonetheless named to the World team (as an injury replacement) in the 2002 All-Star Game (making him the first Norwegian ever to play in the NHL All-Star Game). The 2003‚Äď04 and 2004‚Äď05 seasons were disappointing for Knutsen, who spent large parts of the seasons on the injured list. He left the NHL in early 2005, shortly after being assigned to Columbus' AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and once again returned to Djurg√•rden.

In a 2002 game against the Calgary Flames in Nationwide Arenamarker, Knutsen took a shot that deflected off of Flames defenseman Derek Morris' stick and struck 13-year old Brittanie Cecil in the head, resulting in her death. Knutsen later helped set up a charity in Columbus to honor Brittanie's memory. Also as a result of the tragedy, the NHL made it mandatory to install protective nylon mesh nets above the glass behind both goals.

Knutsen retired because of injury in July 2005. At the news of his retirement, the general manager of Djurgården, Tommy Engström, called him one of the greatest players in the history of the club. After his retirement, Knutsen moved back to his native Oslo, where he lives with his family. He is currently head coach at Vålerenga, the team where he started his career.

Career statistics

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1988‚Äď89 V√•lerenga NOR 36 14 7 21 18
1989‚Äď90 V√•lerenga NOR 40 25 28 53 44
1990‚Äď91 V√•lerenga NOR 31 30 24 54 42
1991‚Äď92 V√•lerenga NOR 30 28 26 54 37
1992‚Äď93 V√•lerenga NOR 13 11 13 24 4
1993‚Äď94 V√•lerenga NOR 38 32 26 58 20
1994‚Äď95 Djurg√•rdens IF SEL 30 6 14 20 18 3 0 1 1 0
1995‚Äď96 Djurg√•rdens IF SEL 32 10 23 33 50 4 1 0 1 2
1996‚Äď97 Djurg√•rdens IF SEL 39 16 33 49 20 4 2 4 6 6
1997‚Äď98 Cincinnati Mighty Ducks AHL 41 4 13 17 18
1997‚Äď98 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 19 3 0 3 6
1998‚Äď99 Djurg√•rdens IF SEL 39 18 24 42 32 4 0 1 1 2
1999‚Äď2000 Djurg√•rdens IF SEL 48 18 35 53 65 13 5 16 21 2
2000‚Äď01 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 66 11 42 53 30
2001‚Äď02 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 77 11 31 42 47
2002‚Äď03 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 31 5 4 9 20
2003‚Äď04 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 14 0 4 4 2
2003‚Äď04 Syracuse Crunch AHL 2 1 1 2 0
2003‚Äď04 V√•lerenga NOR 1 0 0 0 4
2003‚Äď04 Djurg√•rdens IF SEL 6 2 3 5 4 3 0 0 0 6
2004‚Äď05 Djurg√•rdens IF SEL 15 0 8 8 12
NHL totals 207 30 81 111 105


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