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This Date in NHL History

July 13: Rangers bring back Messier

Plus: Red Wings trade Cup hero Babando; Vegas hires McPhee as first general manager

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


2000: Mark Messier returns to the New York Rangers after three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.

One of the first moves by new general manager Glen Sather is to bring back Messier, who signs a two-year contract. The news conference announcing his return begins with Madison Square Garden president Dave Checketts admitting that letting Messier go to the Vancouver Canucks after the Rangers make the Eastern Conference Final in 1997 was a mistake.

The highlight comes when defenseman Brian Leetch, who's been captain after Messier leaves, takes out a Rangers jersey and unfolds it; Messier's No. 11 is on the back and the captain's "C" is on the front. He invites Messier to "come up and put on the jersey that looks best on you."

But the 39-year-old center's second stint in New York doesn't go nearly as well as the first one, when he helps the Rangers win the Stanley Cup in 1994. Messier plays four seasons with the Rangers before retiring; New York misses the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of them.

Video: Mark Messier was one of NHL's greatest leaders



1950: Pete Babando, hero of the Detroit Red Wings' Game 7 victory against the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final less than three months earlier, is sent to the Chicago Black Hawks (as they were then known) as part of a nine-player trade. Babando's goal at 8:31 of the second overtime had won Detroit the Cup. He finishes with 37 points (18 goals, 19 assists) in his first season with Chicago; the remodeled Red Wings fail to repeat as champions.


2005: Negotiators for NHL owners and the NHL Players' Association announce a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement to end a lockout that resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 NHL season. As part of the six-year deal, which has to be ratified by the players and owners, the League introduces a salary cap for the first time.


2009: Jacques Lemaire returns for a second term as coach of the New Jersey Devils, 14 seasons after leading them to the first Stanley Cup championship in their history. "I never thought I would be back," the 63-year-old says after being hired to replace Brent Sutter. "I said at that time when I was leaving after five years, and it was five great years, I wanted to cherish this for the rest of my life and the rest of my career, but I never thought one day I would come back." Lemaire returns to the Devils after spending the previous eight seasons as coach of the Minnesota Wild.


2016: George McPhee is hired as the first general manager of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. During McPhee's 17-year tenure as GM of the Washington Capitals, they win the Southeast Division seven times and the Presidents' Trophy in 2009-10, qualify for the postseason 10 times, and reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 1998. In Vegas, McPhee builds a team that wins the Pacific Division and reaches the Cup Final in its first season; he's named General Manager of the Year. Ironically, his new team loses to his old team when the Capitals win the Cup in five games.

Video: George McPhee wins NHL General Manager of the Year

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