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200th point was family affair for Wayne Gretzky

Oilers star reached single-season milestone with parents on hand March 25, 1982

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS -- When Wayne Gretzky was breaking barriers, setting records and having seasons for the ages, he often worried about the time-consuming nature of the chase.

He was concerned about friends and family.

There was the pursuit of Gordie Howe's NHL career points record when Gretzky was with the Los Angeles Kings.

"I remember thinking, 'Gosh, I've got to get this over with,'" Gretzky said during a recent interview at his fantasy camp. "Gordie and [wife] Colleen [Howe] had been following us around, and we spent a lot of time together.

"My concern was to get Gordie home."

That was in 1989.

In 1981-82, he was concerned about the demands on the time of his parents. When Gretzky was in his third NHL season with the Edmonton Oilers, became the first player in League history to exceed the 200-point plateau.

Gretzky, 21, accomplished the feat March 25, 1982, in the Oilers' 7-2 defeat of the Calgary Flames at the Stampede Corral in Calgary. The Flames played their first three seasons at the Corral before moving to the Saddledome, and news accounts of the game had the "capacity crowd of 7,234," giving Gretzky a standing ovation when he broke the 200-point barrier.

Video: Memories: Gretzky tallies his 200th point of the year

He entered the game with 199 points. Point No. 200 came at 9:16 of the first period when he assisted on a goal by Pat Hughes. But Gretzky kept going, with point No. 201 coming at 11:21 of the first when he assisted on a Dave Semenko goal. He then scored two shorthanded goals 27 seconds apart against goaltender Rejean Lemelin early in the second period for a four-point game.

The Oilers were coming off a five-day break and Gretzky was pleased to break the 200-point barrier in front of his parents, who made the trip to Calgary.

"I'm happy it's finally over," Gretzky said that night. "Not only for myself, but because my parents were here to see it."

Gretzky said he remembered a conversation he had with Oilers teammate defenseman Paul Coffey during that season. Gretzky finished 1981-82 with 92 goals, including 50 in the Oilers' first 39 games, and 212 points. The League's second-leading scorer was Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders, who had 147 points (64 goals, 83 assists).

"We were at breakfast one day, and Paul Coffey said, 'You know you can get 200 points,'" Gretzky said. "I said I never really thought of it."

He said it was then that he started thinking he could "make a run for this."

"Not to embarrass teams, but if I got two goals I wanted to get four goals," he said. "If I had three points I wanted six points.

"You played from buzzer to buzzer and that's how I was raised. I was lucky in the sense I had the right coach [Glen Sather]. If I did have four or five points, he would double shift me in the third period or he would put me out there in that last minute."

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