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NHL Centennial

This Week in Centennial History

Wayne Gretzky traded by Oilers to Kings; Ken Dryden, Sidney Crosby born @NHLdotcom

As part of the League's Centennial Celebration, is taking a look back at memorable events each week. Here are Centennial highlights for the week of Aug. 6-12:


Aug. 12, 1981: Defenseman Serge Savard, a seven-time Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens, announces his retirement as a player at age 35. In 15 seasons with the Canadiens, Savard has 412 points (100 goals, 312 assists) in 917 games with a plus-492 rating. But Savard's retirement is short-lived; former Montreal teammate John Ferguson, now the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, persuades Savard to play for the Jets, about to begin their third NHL season. Savard's rights are acquired from the Canadiens and he plays two more seasons. He retires in 1983, returns to Montreal as Canadiens GM and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.


Aug. 11, 1920: Goaltender Chuck Rayner is born in Sutherland, Saskatchewan. Rayner plays 10 seasons in the NHL, eight of them with the New York Rangers. Despite never having a season with more wins than losses, Rayner, nicknamed "Bonnie Prince Charlie," nearly lifts the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1950. His goaltending carries the Rangers to Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings before New York falls in double-overtime on a goal by Red Wings forward Pete Babando. Rayner is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973.


Aug. 10, 1995: The NHL's new team in Denver announces it will be known as the Colorado Avalanche, with a logo of burgundy, blue and silver. It proves to be a memorable season for the franchise formerly known as the Quebec Nordiques; the Avalanche finish the 1995-96 season by winning the Stanley Cup, sweeping the Florida Panthers in the Final. Goaltender Patrick Roy gives up four goals in the four-game series.


Aug. 9, 1988: In one of the most seismic trades in the history of professional sports, center Wayne Gretzky is traded to the Los Angeles Kings by the Edmonton Oilers. The centerpiece of the Oilers dynasty, when Edmonton wins four Stanley Cup titles in five seasons from 1984-88, Gretzky is traded with defenseman Marty McSorley and forward Mike Krushelnyski for center Jimmy Carson, forward Martin Gelinas, three first-round draft picks and $15 million. Gretzky's presence sparks the huge growth of hockey in Southern California and other non-traditional markets, and proves a catalyst in helping the NHL expand to an eventual 31 teams.

Video: Oilers send franchise icon Wayne Gretzky to the Kings


Aug. 8, 1947: Goaltender Ken Dryden is born in Hamilton, Ontario. He is selected as a 17-year-old by the Boston Bruins in the 1964 NHL Draft, but his rights are traded to the Canadiens 17 days later. Following a successful collegiate career at Cornell, Dryden is called up by the Canadiens for the final six games of the 1970-71 season, and goes on to win the Conn Smythe Trophy when Montreal wins the Stanley Cup. It is the first of six Cup championships Dryden wins with the Canadiens, including four straight from 1976-79. He retires after the 1979 title with an NHL career record of 258-57-74 with a 2.24 goals against average and 46 shutouts in 397 games, and wins the Vezina Trophy five times. He is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.

Video: Ken Dryden won Conn Smythe before he won Calder


Aug. 7, 1987: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby is born in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. He is selected by the Penguins with the No. 1 pick of the 2005 NHL Draft, and scores 102 points (39 goals, 63 assists) in his rookie season in 2005-06. The following season, at 19, he becomes the youngest player to win the NHL scoring title, with 120 points (36 goals, 84 assists). In 2009, at 21, he becomes the youngest captain in League history to win the Stanley Cup. He wins his second and third Cup championships when the Penguins claim back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, and is voted the Conn Smythe winner in each.

Video: Sidney Crosby delivered on much-hyped promise


Aug. 6, 1997: Barry Trotz is named the first coach of the expansion Nashville Predators, who enter the NHL for the 1998-99 season. Five seasons earlier, he leads Portland of the American Hockey League, the Washington Capitals affiliate, to the Calder Cup. David Poile, then the Capitals general manager, is hired by the Predators in 1997 and hires Trotz as coach. Trotz remains Nashville coach for 15 seasons, and has a record of 557-479-100 with 60 ties. He is fired by the Predators on April 14, 2014, and hired by the Washington Capitals as coach one month later.

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