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This Date in NHL History

July 25: Neilson replaces Kelly as coach of Maple Leafs

Plus: Sharks record-holding goalie Nabokov born; Propp signs with North Stars

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 25

1977: Roger Neilson gets his first job as an NHL coach when he's hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs to replace Red Kelly.

Neilson comes to Toronto after spending 10 seasons as coach of Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League and one as an assistant with Dallas of the Central Hockey League. He leads the Maple Leafs to the Semifinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his first season, but is fired after Toronto goes 34-33-13 in 1978-79. Neilson goes on to coach seven other NHL teams and finishes his career in 2001-02. He coaches exactly 1,000 games and finishes 460-378-3 with 159 ties. Neilson's only trip to the Stanley Cup Final comes with the Vancouver Canucks in 1982; however, the New York Islanders sweep the series in four games.

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This Date in NHL History

July 24: Robitaille returns to Kings

Plus: Rangers acquire Nedved from Blues for Tikkanen, Lidster, coaching rights to Keenan

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 24

2003: Left wing Luc Robitaille signs on for a third stint with the Los Angeles Kings.

For Robitaille, a ninth-round choice by Los Angeles (No. 171) in the 1984 NHL Draft, it's a return to the city where his NHL career began in 1986; he scores 45 goals as a rookie and has at least 44 in each of his first eight seasons with the Kings. He's traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1994 but comes back to Los Angeles in 1997 and scores at least 36 goals in three of his four seasons before signing a two-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings in 2001.

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This Date in NHL History

July 23: Lamoriello leaves Devils for Maple Leafs

Plus: Former NHL president Dutton born; Blue Jackets trade Nash to Rangers

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 23

2015: Lou Lamoriello, the architect of three Stanley Cup-winning teams during his 28 seasons running the New Jersey Devils, takes on a new challenge when he agrees to become general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Lamoriello, 72, resigns as president of the Devils to become GM of the Maple Leafs. He's hired by team president Brendan Shanahan, Lamoriello's first draft pick as GM of the Devils, in 1987. 

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This Date in NHL History

July 22: Two-time Cup winner Zubov born

Plus: Center Sillinger traded twice in same day

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 22

1970: Sergei Zubov, one of the best Russian defensemen in NHL history, is born in Moscow. The New York Rangers select Zubov in the fifth round (No. 85) of the 1990 NHL Draft with a pick obtained as compensation from the Quebec Nordiques for their signing of free agent Guy Lafleur the previous summer, and he joins the Rangers for the 1992-93 season. 

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This Date in NHL History

July 21: Gretzky signs with Rangers for reunion with Messier

Plus: Ruff named coach of Sabres, eventually guides Buffalo to Cup Final

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 21

1996: Wayne Gretzky, the greatest scorer in NHL history, rejoins former teammate Mark Messier when he signs a contract with the New York Rangers.

Gretzky says the chance to play with his old friend and teammate from their Stanley Cup-winning days with the Edmonton Oilers is a big reason he decides to sign with New York after finishing the 1995-96 season with the St. Louis Blues. 

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This Date in NHL History

July 20: Forsberg born in Sweden

Plus: Rangers acquire goalie Bower from Cleveland; Richards retires from NHL

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 20

1973: Center Peter Forsberg, one of the most dominant players of the late 1990s and early 2000s, is born in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.

The Philadelphia Flyers take Forsberg with the No. 6 pick in the 1991 NHL Draft, but trade him to the Quebec Nordiques a year later as part of the package for center Eric Lindros. After scoring the gold medal-winning shootout goal for Sweden at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, Forsberg joins the Nordiques in the fall and wins the Calder Trophy with 50 points in 47 games, helping Quebec finish first in the Eastern Conference.

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This Date in NHL History

July 19: Hockey Hall of Fame coach Irvin born

Plus: Three-time Stanley Cup champion Osgood retires

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 19

1892: Hockey Hall of Fame coach Dick Irvin is born in Hamilton, Ontario.

Irvin plays 94 games during three NHL seasons, but he spends 27 seasons as one of the most successful coaches in League history. His teams win the Stanley Cup four times (1932 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, after taking over early in the season when Art Duncan is fired; 1944, 1946 and 1953 with the Montreal Canadiens). He coaches the Chicago Blackhawks for two seasons and the Maple Leafs for nine before taking over the Canadiens in 1940-41. Irvin's 15 seasons with the Canadiens are the most by any coach in their history, and he goes 431-313-152 in 896 games with Montreal while helping groom numerous players who go on to the Hockey Hall of Fame, including Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau.

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This Date in NHL History

July 18: Red Wings sign Bowman for two years

Plus: Detroit promotes Holland to general manager; Blackhawks name Toews captain

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 18

1997: Two months after winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in 42 years, the Detroit Red Wings make two moves that will help them win three more in the next 11: They sign Scotty Bowman to a two-year contract to remain as coach and promote Ken Holland to general manager. He had been assistant GM.

Bowman guides the Red Wings to the Cup again in 1998 and wins his NHL-record ninth championship as a coach in 2002. After the final buzzer, he puts on his skates and takes the Cup for a lap around the ice. It's his last act before retiring as the holder of NHL records for wins and championships by a coach.

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This Date in NHL History

July 17: Islanders legend Trottier is born

Plus: Gainey retires after 16 seasons with Canadiens

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 17

1956: Bryan Trottier, one of the cornerstones of the New York Islanders' dynasty in the early 1980s, is born in Val Marie, Saskatchewan.

The Islanders select Trottier, a center with Swift Current of the Western Hockey League, in the second round (No. 22) of the 1974 NHL Draft. He joins the Islanders in 1975-76 and wins the Calder Trophy by scoring 32 goals and finishing with a rookie-record 95 points.

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This Date in NHL History

July 16: Gretzky in 'royal wedding'

Plus: Four-time Stanley Cup winner Lemieux is born

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 16

1988: Wayne Gretzky marries actress Janet Jones before a crowd of about 700 people in Edmonton in an event dubbed by some Canadian media as "the royal wedding." The Edmonton Oilers star and Jones first meet in the early 1980s when he serves as a celebrity judge on the TV show "Dance Fever," but they don't start dating until 1987, after they meet again at a basketball game. Thousands of well-wishers line the route from the church to the reception.

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