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The Light Finally Goes on for Nilan
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09-11-2011, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
The Last Gladiators (film) with Chris Nilan
The Last Gladiators, a documentary that focuses on the post-hockey lives of enforcers and which specifically focuses on former Hab Chris Nilan, had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival Friday night. I went to see it.
I highly recommend the movie. Not only is Nilan brutally honest about himself, he is funny & witty and hilariously blunt. The filmmakers also talked to Tony Twist, Bob Probert (sad moment to see him), Paul Stewart, Marty McSorley, Donald Brashear (they covered their incident) and others.
The discussion of the role of enforcers in hockey is far more interesting when it's from the perspective of an enforcer.
Nilan was present for a Q & A session afterward. It was his first time watching the film and he was very emotional afterward. Yeah, knuckles was in tears. He talked about getting addicted to pain killers because of the numerous surgeries he's had to endure (26 altogether) which then evolved into a heroin addiction.
He said the only difference between him and Boogard was that he got lucky and Boogard didn't because Nilan was doing the exact same thing Boogard was - mixing pain killers and alcohol.
Nilan loved his role on the Habs and the other players had no regrets, but the injuries that they sustained from fighting put them through a lot of pain. That whole Cherry rant about "no one gets hurts in a fight" is a lot of ********.
OTOH, they all seemed to relish the roles that they had. Anyways, if you get a chance to see the film. Please do. It's a great hockey documentary.
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