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Rangers Will Honor 3 Greats in February

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Graves Learns He Will Be Honored Watch

Adam Graves, who last stood at the podium on the MSG ice during Mark Messier Night (top), will be back there again in February. Also set to be honored that month are Rangers blueline great Harry Howell (middle) and former league MVP Andy Bathgate, whose numbers will be retired in a special ceremony focusing on the team's rich, Original Six history.
Graves the Ultimate Fan Favorite
Bathgate a True Artist on the Ice
Howell Coming Home to Rafters

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that Adam Graves, Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell will have their jerseys retired in two separate on-ice ceremonies during the 2008-09 season. 

The organization will retire jersey No. 9 in honor Graves prior to the Rangers – Atlanta Thrashers game on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009. This will be the last number retired from the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship team.  Then, on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, the Blueshirts will retire jersey No. 9 and jersey No. 3 in honor of Bathgate and Howell, respectively, prior to the Rangers – Toronto Maple Leaf game.

"Adam Graves is one of the most beloved players to ever don a New York Rangers sweater," stated Sather. "Off the ice, there isn’t a finer person. His effort and production as a hockey player was nothing short of triumphant and, even today, his dedication to the community is incomparable. We are proud to have Adam join his fellow 1994 Stanley Cup Champion teammates Mike Richter, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch, as well as legends Rod Gilbert and Eddie Giacomin, as his number is raised to the rafters of Madison Square Garden."

Graves, the two-time Rangers’ MVP (1993 and 1994)  who retired from professional hockey following the 2002-03 season after a memorable 17-year career, now serves in the Rangers Hockey and Business Operations departments.

Graves set the franchise record for most goals in a season with his 52-goal campaign in 1993-94 (since broken by Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06), and ranks third in career goals (280) and 10th in points (507). Graves has also won several Rangers’ awards in recognition of his contribution to the community, including the Steven McDonald Award (1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, and 2000), the Rangers Fan Club Ceil Saidel Memorial Award (1996, 1997 and 2000) and the Crumb Bum Award (1993).

Graves appeared in 1,152 career games with the Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, and San Jose Sharks, registering 329 goals and 287 assists for 616 points, along with 1,224 penalty minutes. Graves was selected to participate in the 1994 NHL All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden, and was honored with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (1994), the NHL Foundation Award (2000) and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (2001).

Graves is also a two-time, Stanley Cup Champion in 1989-90 with Edmonton and in 1993-94 with the Rangers. He was an integral part of the Rangers’ magical run to the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship, registering 10 goals and seven assists for 17 points in 23 matches.

Just a few weeks later, Graves’ will be joined in the rafters by Bathgate and Howell.

"Rangers history is enriched by players like Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell, who laid the foundation for what a Rangers player should be,” stated Sather. "They will now take their rightful place in The Garden rafters alongside those players who have carried their tradition throughout the years."

Bathgate, who played 12 seasons with the New York Rangers from 1952-53 to 1963-64 and served as Captain from 1961 to 1964, established himself as one of the most prolific scorers to don the Rangers sweater. He became the first Rangers player to register 40 goals in one season in 1958-59, and ranks fourth in career goals (272), assists (457) and points (729). Bathgate also holds the franchise record for most consecutive games with at least one goal, tallying a goal in 10-straight contests during the 1962-63 seasons (11 goals over the span).

Bathgate appeared in 1,069 career games with the Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, and Pittsburgh Penguins, registering 349 goals and 624 assists for 973 points, along with 624 penalty minutes. As a Ranger, Bathgate was selected to participate in eight NHL All-Star games (1957-1964) and was honored with the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP during the 1958-59 season. The four-time Rangers MVP (1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, and 1961-62) tied Bobby Hull for the NHL scoring title in 1961-62. Twice-named to the NHL First All-Star Team (1958-59 and 1961-62), Bathgate was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.

Howell, who played 17 seasons with the New York Rangers from 1952-53 to 1968-69 and served as Captain from 1955 to 1957, established the benchmark for consistency and durability in the Rangers organization. He holds the franchise record with 1,160 games played, missing only 40 out of 1,200 regular season games during his tenure in New York. Howell also ranks fifth in Rangers history in assists by a defenseman (263) and points by a defenseman (345), and ranks sixth in goals by a defenseman (82).

Howell appeared in 1,411 career games with the Rangers, Oakland Seals, California Golden Seals, and Los Angeles Kings, recording 94 goals and 324 assists for 418 points, along with 1,298 penalty minutes. Howell enjoyed his greatest success on Broadway during the 1966-67 season, winning the Norris Trophy and being named to the NHL First All-Star Team.

The 1963-64 Rangers MVP was also among the most popular players in club history, winning the Frank Boucher Trophy as the team’s most popular player in three-straight seasons from 1965 to 1967. Howell, who represented the Rangers in the NHL All-Star game six times (1954, 1963-1965 and 1967-1968), was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.

Graves, Bathgate and Howell will join Rod Gilbert (7), Eddie Giacomin (1), Mike Richter (35), Mark Messier (11), and Brian Leetch (2) as the only Rangers players to have their jersey numbers retired. Gilbert’s No. 7 was first to ascend to The Garden rafters on October 14, 1979; Giacomin’s No. 1 on March 15, 1989; Richter’s No. 35 on February 4, 2004; Messier’s No. 11 on January 12, 2006; and most recently Leetch’s No. 2 on January 24, 2008.
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