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Bathgate-Howell Rangers Timeline

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
In a special pregame ceremony on Sunday, the Rangers organization will retire Andy Bathgate's No. 9 and Harry Howell's No. 3. Here is a look back at some of the many reasons why these two Blueshirts legends' numbers are headed for the MSG rafters:

On Oct. 17, 1952, a member of the Rangers PR staff scrawled a hand-written note about the call-up of two young players from Guelph, Andy Bathgate, left, and Harry Howell, right, who would forever change Blueshirts history.

Oct. 17, 1952

After the Rangers start the 1952-53 season at 0-3-0, injuries hit the team in the worst possible way. Goaltender Chuck Rayner, forward Don “Bones” Raleigh and defenseman Leo Reise are all sidelined due to injuries, and Edgar Laprade has failed to report to the team as he mulled retirement.

General Manager Frank Boucher and head coach Bill Cook, themselves legendary former Rangers, decide to call up some promising young players from the Memorial Cup-winning Guelph Biltmore Madhatters.

The call goes out to forwards Andy Bathgate and Ron Murphy, as well as defenseman Harry Howell.

Oct. 18, 1952

Bathgate and Howell make their NHL debuts in Toronto. In his first NHL shift, Howell scores his first goal. Coach Cook is asked if he plans to keep Howell in the lineup even after Reise returns, and the coach replies: “Right now, I’d say yes. He’s a major-leaguer.” The words turn out to be prophetic, as Howell goes on to spend the next 17 years with the Blueshirts, never seeing junior or minor-league action again.

The item shown above appeared in The Hockey News during the week after Bathgate and Howell made their NHL debuts.

Nov. 18, 1953

Called up from the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks as a replacement for demoted rookie Billy Dea a few days earlier, Bathgate scores his first NHL goal in a 3-1 win over Chicago at Madison Square Garden. Bathgate plays on a line with Ron Murphy and Max Bentley. His first NHL goal, assisted by Murphy and Camille Henry, beats Black Hawks goalie Al Rollins at 17:21 of the first period. Howell also scores his first goal of the 1953-54 season in the same game -- the game-winner -- to make it 2-1 at 14:55 of the second period.

Oct. 7, 1955

In the hours before the Rangers’ Oct. 7 season-opener at Chicago, Howell is named the ninth captain in Rangers history, replacing an aging Raleigh, whose role was being reduced. At 22, Howell becomes the youngest Rangers player ever to wear the “C”. Bathgate honors his new captain with a goal and four assists in a 7-4 win over the Black Hawks.

Feb. 14, 1956

Bathgate records his 100th career point with a Valentine’s Day assist on Prentice’s third-period goal at Detroit.

Feb. 29, 1956

Bathgate ties Raleigh’s Rangers record of 42 assists in a season with an assist on Danny Lewicki’s first-period goal against Boston at MSG. Lewicki’s goal gives the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead, and the Rangers go on to win the game 4-2.

March 8, 1956

Bathgate breaks Raleigh’s single-season assists record, picking up his 43rd assist on Howell’s first-period goal vs. Chicago in a game played in St. Louis. Howell’s goal, scored at 8:02 of the first, gives the Rangers a 2-1 lead, and the Blueshirts go on to win 6-4. The victory is the Rangers’ 31st of the 1955-56, adding to the single-season wins record set four nights earlier against the Hawks at MSG. It also eliminates Chicago from the playoff race.

March 10, 1956

Bathgate ties Boucher’s Rangers record of 62 points in a season with an assist on Prentice’s first-period goal at Toronto on March 10.

March 11, 1956

Bathgate breaks Boucher’s single-season Rangers scoring record at MSG with his 63rd point -- an assist on a second-period goal by Pete Conacher -- in the back end of a home-and-home series against Toronto. The Rangers win the game 4-2 with Bathgate also picking up the final Rangers goal at 18:30 of the second period.

March 25, 1956

Bathgate scores his first NHL playoff goal against Montreal goaltender Jacques Plante in a 5-3 Game 4 loss to the Canadiens at MSG. Bathgate’s goal closes the scoring at 15:04 of the third period.

Dec. 16, 1956

Bathgate registers the first of his five Rangers hat tricks, scoring three times against Plante during a 4-2 over the Canadiens in front of 14,806 fans at MSG. Two of his goals come in the final minute to seal the victory. Bathgate scores at 6:03 of the second period to make it 1-1, at 19:08 of the third period to make it 3-2 and at 19:35 of the third period – just as Plante was looking to leave the net for an extra attacker. Bathgate takes the hat-trick puck home with him that night.

March 10, 1957

Bathgate breaks his own Rangers single-season points record with his 67th point -- a first-period goal in a 4-1 win over Detroit at MSG. Two weeks

March 23, 1957

Bathgate breaks his own Rangers single-season assists record with his 48th assist of the season on a second-period goal by Danny Lewicki in a 4-2 win at Boston.

April 4, 1957

Howell scores his first NHL playoff goal at 12:21 of the first period in Game 5 of a first-round series at Montreal. The goal is the last Rangers tally of the 1957 playoffs.

Oct. 5, 1957

Representing the Rangers in his first NHL All-Star Game, Bathgate helps the All-Stars beat the defending Cup champion Canadiens 5-3 at the Montreal Forum. Playing on a line with Rangers teammate Dean Prentice and Chicago’s Ed Litzenberger, Bathgate ties the game at 3-3.

Nov. 6, 1957

Bathgate registers his 200th career Rangers point with an assist on Camille Henry’s first-period goal during a 4-2 Rangers win at Toronto. Bathgate finishes the game with a goal and two assists.

March 23, 1958

Bathgate breaks his own Rangers single-season points record for the second time in his career, picking up his 78th point with an assist on Bill Gadsby’s second-period goal in a 3-2 win over Toronto at MSG.

Oct. 4, 1958

Representing the Rangers in his second NHL All-Star Game at the Montreal Forum, Bathgate nets two goals for his squad as the All-Stars fall to the Canadiens 6-3.

Oct. 18, 1958

Bathgate scores his 100th career NHL goal, beating Plante at 16:58 of the second period in a 2-2 tie at Montreal. The Rangers end up tying the game on Andy Hebenton’s goal with only 1:45 remaining in the third period.

March 1, 1959

Bathgate ties Cook’s Rangers single-season record with his 33rd goal in a 1-1 tie with Toronto at MSG.

March 7, 1959

Bathgate breaks Cook’s single-season Rangers goal-scoring record, scoring his 34th goal of the season at 2:18 of the first period in a 6-1 win at Chicago. The goal is scored against Glenn Hall. Bathgate finishes the night with a goal and two assists.

March 11, 1959

Bathgate breaks own Rangers single-season points record for third time in his career by registering his 79th point of the season with a goal in a 5-3 loss to Chicago at MSG. The goal comes as part of Bathgate’s second career hat trick, as No. 9 provides all of the Rangers’ offense against Hawks goalie Hall.

March 15, 1959

Bathgate becomes the first Rangers player to score 40 goals in one season by beating Toronto goalie Johnny Bower in a 6-5 loss to the Maple Leafs at MSG. The goal comes at 2:33 of the second period, tying the game at 2-2.

May 11, 1959

Bathgate wins the Hart Trophy as NHL’s Most Valuable Player, becoming first Ranger to do so since Chuck Rayner in 1950 and only the third Rangers player in history. Bathgate receives 133 out of a possible 180 points. Gordie Howe finishes second with 60 points.

Andy Bathgate and his wife Merle enjoy an article about Andy winning the Rangers' Frank Boucher Trophy in the late 1950s.

Nov. 1, 1959

Bathgate’s first-period wrister cuts the left side of Montreal goaltender Jacques Plante’s nose and upper lip at the Garden, requiring seven stitches to close the wound. The game is delayed 20 minutes,and Plante returns to play with a facemask, making him the first modern-day goalie to do so. The mask helps Plante beat the Rangers 3-1. After the game, Plante says he was willing to return to the game without the mask but would have been nervous to do so and was glad coach Toe Blake relented on his refusal to let him wear the masks in games. Plante also encourages other goalies to wear masks, saying: “You have to realize that the game has improved so much it’s become much tougher on goalies.” Bathgate later admits that the shot at Plante’s face was deliberate, made in retaliation for an earlier transgression by Plante.

Nov. 11, 1959

After assisting on Camille Henry’s game-winner early in the third period, Howell registers his 100th career NHL point with an assist on Jimmy Barlett’s goal in a 6-3 win over Boston at MSG. Bathgate picks up three assists in the victory.

Dec. 3, 1959

Howell plays in his 500th career game as a Ranger, a 7-4 win at Montreal, and gets an assist on a Larry Popein goal that ties the game 2-2 midway through the first period.

Jan. 31, 1960

Bathgate registers his 250th career NHL assist on a goal by Prentice during the second period of a 3-3 tie with Detroit at MSG.

Feb. 21, 1960

Bathgate ties Frank Boucher’s Rangers career record of 413 points during a 7-2 win over Boston at MSG. He registers No. 413 with an assist on Popein’s goal at 15:25 of the third period. He also draws an earlier assist on Eddie Shack’s game-winner.

Feb. 27, 1960

Bathgate becomes the Rangers’ all-time scoring leader, passing Boucher with a goal at 2:10 of the first period at Montreal for his 414th career point. The goal beats Canadiens netminder Plante in a 3-2 loss to the Habs.

March 16, 1960

Bathgate ties Boucher’s Rangers career record of 261 assists during the first period of a 3-2 loss to Boston at MSG. He gets his 261st assist on a goal by Andy Hebenton at 18:19.

March 19, 1960

Bathgate breaks Boucher’s Rangers career assists record with his 262nd assist in a 6-3 loss at Detroit. The record-breaking assist comes on a goal by Dean Prentice at 15:57 of the first period.

Nov. 23, 1960

Bathgate leads the Rangers to a 6-3 win over Boston at MSG by netting his third career NHL hat trick against Bruins goalie Bruce Gamble. Bathgate gets his first goal to make it 1-0 at 1:14 of the opening period, his second to make it 3-2 at 16:04 of the second period, and his third to make it 5-3 at 12:28 of the third period.

Feb. 12, 1961

Howell plays in his 600th career Rangers game, scoring a goal and adding an assist in a loss at Boston.

March 5, 1961

Bathgate registers his 500th career Rangers point in an 8-3 rout of Detroit at MSG. He finishes the game with a goal and three assists. Point No. 500 comes at the end of the game when he assists on a goal by Pat Hannigan.

Oct. 7, 1961

Bathgate represents the Rangers in his fifth NHL All-Star Game, picking up an assist in a 3-1 NHL All-Stars win over the Black Hawks at Chicago Stadium.

Oct. 9, 1961

Two days before the season-opener at Boston, Bathgate is named the 11th captain in Rangers history, taking over from Red Sullivan, who had retired after the previous season.

Oct. 12, 1961

In the second game of his first full season as Rangers captain, Bathgate registers his fourth career hat trick, leading the Rangers to a 6-3 win over Boston at MSG. Bathgate scores all three goals against Boston rookie netminder Don Head. He gets the first goal at 8:49 of the second period to make it 2-1, the second goal -- and eventual game-winner -- at 18:24 of the second to make it 4-3, and the third goal just 49 seconds into the third period.

Nov. 12, 1961

Bathgate scores his 200th career Rangers goal in a 4-1 win over Chicago at MSG. The goal beats Glenn Hall at 14:45 of the third period.

Dec. 31, 1961

Howell plays in his 647th career Rangers game against Boston on New Year’s Eve at MSG, tying Ott Heller’s team record, which had stood for 15 years. Heller attends the game and participates in a brief, on-ice ceremony with Howell.

Jan. 1, 1962

On New Year’s Day, Howell breaks Heller’s record for career Rangers games by playing in Game  No. 648, a 4-2 win at Boston.

Jan. 31, 1962

Howell  records his 100th NHL assist in a 5-0 win over Boston at MSG. The assist comes on rookie Vic Hadfield’s second goal of the game. Howell also scores off an assist from Bathgate.

Feb. 7, 1962

Bathgate scores his 20th goal of the season, beating Detroit’s Hank Bassen at 19:24 of the second period of a 2-2 tie with the Wings at MSG. With the goal, Bathgate ties Bryan Hextall’s Rangers records of seven 20-goal seasons and six consecutive 20-goal seasons.

March 14, 1962

On a Wednesday night, Bathgate scores on a third-period penalty shot against Detroit’s goalie Bassen, giving the Rangers a 3-2 win that pushes them ahead of the Red Wings and into the Stanley Cup playoff picture. The goal is Bathgate’s second of the night and overshadows Gordie Howe’s 500th, scored in the same game. The Rangers go on to make the playoffs for first time in four years.

March 25, 1962

Bathgate and Chicago’s Bobby Hull finish atop the NHL scoring race with 84 points apiece. Hull earns Art Ross Trophy for having more goals, preventing Bathgate from winning the award for the first time in his career. Ironically, the Rangers beat the Black Hawks 4-1 in the season finale and both men get points, but Hull scores the lone Chicago goal, preventing Bathgate from winning the Art Ross. Hull’s Chicago teammates devote much of the game to shutting downt Bathgate in the effort to get the scoring championship for Hull.

Nov. 21, 1962

Howell plays in his 700th career Rangers game, a 4-2 win over Boston at MSG.

Nov.22, 1962

Bathgate scores at 18:03 of the second period to tie Bill Cook’s Rangers record of 228 career goals. The goal beat Ed Johnston to give the Blueshirts a 3-0 lead over the Bruins in a 7-1 win at Boston.

Nov. 29, 1962

Bathgate scores at 10:34 of the second period to become the Rangers’ all-time goal-scoring leader with 229 career goals. The record-breaking goal beats Detroit’s Terry Sawchuk in a 5-0 Rangers win at the Olympia.

Dec. 15, 1962

Bathgate starts what would become an NHL record streak of scoring at least one goal in 10 straight games. The first goal beats Plante at 8:26 of the second period in a 4-2 Rangers win at Montreal.

Jan. 2, 1963

Bathgate ties Maurice Richard, Bernie Geoffrion and Bobby Hull’s shared NHL record of nine straight games with at least one goal by scoring at 14:10 of the second period in a 3-2 win over Toronto at MSG. Bathgate’s goal cuts Toronto’s lead to 2-1, and Rod Gilbert scores the next two Rangers goals for the win.

Jan. 5, 1963

Bathgate scores in a record-breaking 10th straight game, helping the Rangers to a 2-2 tie at Montreal. Bathgate scores twice the game against Plante, with the record-setter coming at 16:02 of the second period.  The second goal against Plante is the 20th of the season for Bathgate. His seventh consecutive 20-goal season breaks Bryan Hextall’s Rangers record of six, and his eighth career 20-goal season breaks Hextall’s record of seven.

Feb. 17, 1963

Bathgate registers his 400th career Rangers assist in a 4-1 win over Toronto at MSG. The assist comes on a goal by Don McKenney at 10:23 of the first period.

Feb. 28, 1963

Bathgate scores his 250th career Rangers goal in a 6-1 win at Chicago. The goal, which opens the scoring at 3:38 of the opening period, is the first scored as part of a hat trick against Blackhawks goalie Glenn Hall -- the fifth and final hat trick of Bathgate’s Rangers career. The second goal in the hat trick gives Bathgate 30 goals for the season, tying Cook’s former Rangers record of three 30-goal seasons.

Oct. 5, 1963

Bathgate and Howell play together in an NHL All-Star Game for the first time in their careers. The NHL All-Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs skate to a 3-3 tie at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Dec. 14, 1963

Bathgate registers his 700th career Rangers point in a 5-3 loss at Toronto. The milestone point is an assist on Camille Henry’s third-period goal.

Feb. 1, 1964

Howell plays in his 800th game as a Ranger, a 2-2 tie with Chicago at MSG. Bathgate assists on both Rangers goals.

Feb. 12, 1964

Bathgate and Howell combine on a goal for the final time in their NHL careers in a 5-2 loss at Chicago. Bathgate scores at 2:57 of the second period off assists from Howell and Camille Henry.

Feb. 16, 1964

Bathgate registers his 729th and final Rangers point – an assist on Vic Hadfield’s goal at 4:32 of the second period -- in a 4-2 win over Toronto at MSG.

Feb. 22, 1964

Bathgate is traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Don McKenney for Bob Nevin, Dick Duff, Rod Seiling, Arnie Brown and Bill Collins .

Feb. 27, 1964

Howell registers his 200th Rangers career point in a 4-2 win at Boston. The point comes as an assist on a goal by Rod Gilbert. Howell finishes the game with a goal and two assists.

October 1965

Before the start of the 1965-66 season, Howell and teammate Donnie Marshall are named assistant coaches with the Rangers, the first coaching assistants in NHL history.

Nov. 14, 1965

Howell plays in his 900th career Rangers game – a 4-2 win at Chicago. He picks up two assists in the game.

March 27, 1966

Howell registers his 200th career NHL assist in a game against Toronto at Madison Square Garden, setting up a first-period goal by Earl Ingarfield.

Jan. 21, 1967

Howell becomes the first Ranger ever to play 1,000 games when the Blueshirts face the Bruins on Jan. 21 at Boston

Jan. 25, 1967

Harry Howell Night takes place at Madison Square Garden. Howell becomes the first Ranger ever to be honored with a dedicated pregame ceremony.

Rangers legend Harry Howell, right, greets longtime friend and teammate Lou Fontinato during Harry Howell Night in 1967.

March 4, 1967

Howell registers his 300th career Rangers point, assisting on a goal by Marshall in 4-4 tie with Boston at MSG.

April 26, 1967

Howell wins the Norris Trophy as NHL’s top defenseman.

Harry Howell and his coach, Emile Francis, pose with the Norris Trophy awarded to Howell following the 1966-67 season.

May 10, 1967

A 34-year-old Howell caps off his finest season by being named a First Team NHL All-Star for the first time in his career.
Feb. 11, 1968

Bathgate and Howell help to close the third edition of Madison Square Garden, participating in a special ceremony with dozens of former Rangers and NHL legends. Bathgate, then captain of the expansion Pittsburgh Penguins, gets the biggest cheers of the night from the Garden Faithful.

Feb. 18, 1968

Howell plays in the first game at the current MSG, a 3-1 win over Philadelphia.

March 6, 1968

Howell registers his 250th career Rangers assist in a 6-1 win over Detroit at MSG. The milestone comes on a second-period goal by Jean Ratelle.

March 23, 1968

Howell plays in his 1,100th career Rangers game at Toronto.

Jan. 5, 1969

Howell registers his final assist as a Ranger on a goal by Wayne Fleming in a 5-1 win over Minnesota at MSG.

March 27, 1969

Howell scores his final goal as a Ranger at 3:58 of the second period in a 3-3 tie on at Boston. The goal beats Boston’s Gerry Cheevers.

March 30, 1969

Howell plays his 1,160th and final game as a Ranger as the Blueshirts beat Toronto 4-0 at MSG.
Harry Howell, left, congratulates Andy Bathgate upon Bathgate's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978. One year later, Howell joined him as a fellow Hall of Famer.
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