"Knuckles" earned his nickname because he used his knuckles more than most other players in the NHL. Nilan played 13 seasons and racked up more than 3,000 penalty minutes (one of just nine players to reach the mark). He played his college hockey at Northeastern before being drafted by the Canadiens.
Nilan played 80 games for the Bruins between 1990-1992. His biggest game came on March 31, 1991, when Knuckles recorded a record 10 penalties.