Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gretzky Passes Up Howe

On Oct. 15, 1989, Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie Howe as the NHL's all-time top scorer.
Howe is often referred to as Mr. Hockey, and is generally regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time.

Howe is most famous for his scoring prowess, physical strength, and career longevity. He is the only player to have competed in the NHL in five different decades (1940s through 1980s). A four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, he won six Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player and six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

Howe's name and nickname, "Mr. Hockey," as well as his wife's nickname as "Mrs. Hockey," are registered trademarks.

During his NHL career Howe scored 801 regular season goals and 1048 assists totaling 1850 points in 1767 games. In the playoffs Howe would score 68 goals and 92 assists for 160 total points in 157 games.

Gretzky’s 20-year NHL career between the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers would see him play in 1,487 regular season games, scoring 894 goals, 1,963 assists for 2,857 points. He would score 204 power play goals, and 73 shootout goals, 91 of those were game winning goals.

Gretzky would finish his career as the all-time leading scorer in NHL history with 894 goals, 1,963 assists for 2,857 points in the regular season.

Gretzky would also excel in the playoffs. In his 20 seasons in the NHL, Gretzky made the playoffs 16 times with the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kinds, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. He would score 122 goals, 260 assists for 382 points in just 208 playoff games.

Gretzky would also do well in the International format for his home country of Canada. In 63 games split between World Junior Championships, Canada Cup, World Championships, Rendez-vous ’87, the World Cup and the Winter Olympics in 1998, Gretzky would score 34 goals, 69 assists for a total of 103 points in 63 games.

After his playing career was over Gretzky went on to coach the Phoenix Coyotes from 2005-2009. While he was outstanding as a player he was not that as a coach, missing the playoffs every year, posting his best record in 2008 when he coached the team to a 38-37-7 record, finishing fourth in the Pacific Division with 83 points.

On Nov. 22, 1999, Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame. Gretzky became the tenth and last player to bypass the usual three-year waiting period.

Wayne Gretzky being elected to the Hall-Of-Fame was a no-brainer, as he is considered by many to be the greatest player in hockey history, hence his nickname “The Great One.”

At the time of his retirement, Gretzky held or shared a remarkable 61 records, which in itself is a record.  Wayne holds many of the significant offensive records for the regular season, playoffs and the All-Star Game.  Gretzky also represented Canada on several different occasions in International play, including the Winter Olympics, World Championships, World Cup and Canada Cup.

One year after his retirement, at the 2000 All-Star Game, the National Hockey League announced that Wayne Gretzky’s famous no. 99 would be retired league wide.  Gretzky became only the second man in professional North American sports to have his number permanently retired, with Jackie Robinson’s no. 42 being the first by Major League Baseball.