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History

The Great One's 23 unbreakable records

Tuesday, 08.09.2011 / 9:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Wayne Gretzky speaks at a press conference announcing his trade to the Los Angeles Kings from the Edmonton Oilers, on August 9, 1988. (Getty Images)
The hockey world has never been the same since Aug. 9, 1988.

Twenty-three years ago today, the NHL was rocked by the biggest trade in hockey history. The Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, the centerpiece of a dynasty that had just won the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in five years, to the Los Angeles Kings for young talent, draft picks -- and $15 million.

Gretzky had already shredded numerous NHL scoring marks, including goals and points in a season, while helping the Oilers pile up goals in a way the League had never seen. The deal pumped life into the Kings, a franchise that had always struggled for attention in Los Angeles, while stunning Edmonton and the rest of Canada.

Gretzky went on to play 11 seasons after the trade before retiring in 1998-99 after three seasons with the New York Rangers. He left the NHL with more than 60 records to his credit.
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Baun recalls goal that helped Leafs win '64 Cup

Friday, 04.01.2011 / 12:06 PM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The man who scored perhaps the most famous playoff goal in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs wants you to know he didn't do it with a broken ankle.

"It was a broken leg. It wasn't a broken ankle," Bob Baun told NHL.com when asked about the milestone moment of his 17-year career.

Baun blocked a Gordie Howe shot midway through the final period of Game 6 of the 1964 Stanley Cup Final in Detroit, a game the Leafs had to win to stay alive. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher, but had no intentions of calling it a night. Baun received treatment at the infirmary in the old Olympia. When he was told he couldn't do any more damage to his leg, he took a shot of painkiller and was able to return to the game.

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A look at the Great One by the numbers

Wednesday, 01.26.2011 / 12:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Wayne Gretzky

WAYNE GRETZKY
RW - CAREER STATS

G-A-P: 894-1,963-2,857
GP: 1,487 | PIM: 577

  Gretzky's first goal

Wayne Gretzky turns 50 on Wednesday and NHL.com is ready to party in celebration. throughout the rest of Tuesday, we will be showcasing some of the Great One's greatest highlights on NHL.com as a primer for tomorrow's celebration, which will feature numerous stories and videos, as well as a career retrospective in photos. To whet the appetite for the day-long celebration, here is just a small collection of the jaw-dropping numbers No. 99 posted in his brilliant career. Join us again tomorrow for all things Gretzky!

No one in NHL history has put up the kind of numbers Wayne Gretzky did. Here's a look at some of them:
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Gretzky remains celebrated figure at age 50

Wednesday, 01.26.2011 / 12:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

"I don't think it's fair to compare anybody to Wayne. There's only one of him and we all know what he's done for the game of hockey." -- Charlie Huddy

Wayne Gretzky may be gone from the NHL, but as he turns 50, he's certainly not forgotten.
 
The greatest player hockey has ever seen hasn't skated on an NHL rink since April 18, 1999, when he scored his 2,857th and final point during the last game of his career, the New York Rangers' 2-1 overtime loss to Pittsburgh. He hasn't had any affiliation with the League since stepping down as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes prior to last season.
 
But make no mistake: As he reaches the half-century mark Wednesday, Gretzky is every bit the hockey icon today that he was when he was terrorizing goaltenders and setting scoring records.
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Gretzky's amazing feats may never be topped

Wednesday, 01.26.2011 / 12:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

"What separated Wayne from everyone else was his passion for the game. All stars have a love for the game. What separates players like Wayne is the passion -- he's like Michael Jordan. They take it to the next level." -- Kevin Lowe

Nearly three decades after the greatest night in the greatest season by hockey's greatest scorer, Wayne Gretzky still remembers the goals that got away, rather than the ones he scored.

"I had eight or nine good chances. Their goalie made some terrific saves," The Great One said about Dec. 30, 1981.

What he didn't mention is that he had a pretty terrific night, scoring five times to shatter one of the NHL's most hallowed standards -- 50 goals in 50 games, a mark set by Maurice "The Rocket" Richard in 1944-45 and not equaled until 1981-82, when the New York Islanders' Mike Bossy accomplished the feat. The five-goal night gave Gretzky 50 in 39 games en route to a record-setting 92-goal season.

Neither mark has been seriously threatened since. 
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Spectrum demolition a bittersweet day in Philly

Tuesday, 11.23.2010 / 3:28 PM / History

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- With a few swings of an aptly-hued orange wrecking ball, a hole was punched into Philadelphia hockey history on Tuesday as the demolition of the Spectrum began following a ceremony in the parking lot near the original home of the Philadelphia Flyers.
 
With Philadelphia sports legends like Hockey Hall of Famers Bob Clarke and Bernie Parent, as well as NBA legend and former Philadelphia 76er Julius Erving, looking on, the first step in the tear-down of the building began on a chilly, overcast day. The cold weather, however, didn't stop about 1,000 fans from descending on the South Philadelphia sports complex starting at 8 a.m., about 4 1/2 hours before the first hole was punched into the 44-year-old building.

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Some of hockey's best from No. 67 to No. 99

Saturday, 09.04.2010 / 9:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The number a player wears becomes a part of him.

Some numbers are overloaded; others have only a couple of applicants -- and most players wear more than one number during their careers. In trying to determine the best of the best, we've attempted to limit players to the number they wore the most, or the one they're known most for wearing.

Given those parameters, here's a look at the best of the best of NHL players who have worn Nos. 67 to 99. For the best to wear Nos. 00 to 33, click here; for the best to wear Nos. 34 to 66, click here.
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Some of hockey's best from No. 34 to No. 66

Saturday, 09.04.2010 / 9:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The number a player wears becomes a part of him.

Some numbers are overloaded; others only have a couple of applicants -- and most players wear more than one number during their careers. In trying to determine the best of the best, we've attempted to limit players to the number they wore the most, or the one they're best known for wearing.

Given those parameters, here's a look at the best of the best of NHL players who have worn Nos. 34 to 66. For the best to wear Nos. 00 to 33, click here.
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Hockey's best players by the numbers they wore

Saturday, 09.04.2010 / 9:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The number a player wears becomes a part of him. There's not a hockey fan alive who doesn't associate "99" with Wayne Gretzky or "66" with Mario Lemieux.

But not every player has a number to himself. For example, five of the Original Six have retired No. 9 (Toronto, the lone holdout, lists it among its "Honored Numbers"). No. 1, the number that for decades was given to the starting goaltender, no longer is available in a number of cities, where it's long since been raised to the rafters.

Some numbers are overloaded; others only have a couple of applicants -- and most players wear more than one number during their careers. In trying to determine the best of the best, we've attempted to limit players to the number they wore the most, or the one they're best known for wearing.

Given those parameters, here's a look at the best of the best of NHL players who've worn Nos. 00 to 33.
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Quote of the Day

Because of the way they play and their skill set I don't think they're fourth-line players, so in my mind I'm looking at one of those guys I'll have to move over to the wing.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on his four-player battle for second-line center