Each and every night in the National Hockey League there’s a moment to remember. Today it’s a goal by Jets rookie Patrik Laine, a tremendous save (or 30) from Canadiens star Carey Price, another Sidney Crosby spectacle or Alex Ovechkin blast.
Over 100 years of NHL history there are simply too many pivotal moments to count. Here are just a few that stood out for us as the league kicks off its centennial celebrations:
The Edmonton Oilers rocked the hockey world in August 1988 when they sent the face of the league to Los Angeles for a package of players, picks and cash. The trade not only shook up the NHL landscape, but set the stage for an eventual hockey boom in California. Gretzky’s tearful exit upon leaving Edmonton remains a signature moment not just in hockey history, but in Canadian history.
HABS TRADE ROY
Patrick Roy was squeezed for nine goals in his final start in a Montreal Canadiens uniform, the humiliation and anger boiling into a shocking trade four days later on Dec. 6, 1995. The Habs sent Roy, a two-time Stanley Cup champ, to Colorado for the less-than-hearty return of Andrei Kovalenko, Martin Rucinsky and Jocelyn Thibault. He captured two more Cups with the Avs and remains in the thick of best-ever goalie conversations. The Canadiens, meanwhile, have yet to reach another Stanley Cup final since his exit, though they boast an heir apparent in Carey Price.
The fortunes of two struggling teams were changed by the drop of a ping-pong ball. All 30 teams had a crack at the No. 1 overall pick following the 2004-05 lockout, but it was the Pittsburgh Penguins who won the right to draft Sidney Crosby. The superstar has since led the club to a pair of Stanley Cups, becoming arguably the greatest player of his generation. In April 2015, the Edmonton Oilers won the most highly anticipated lottery since 2005, beating out a salivating crew of competitors for the right to pick Connor McDavid first overall. He was the club’s fourth No. 1 overall pick in six seasons.
50 IN 39
The Great One holds too many records to count, but he believes this one will be hardest to break. Gretzky notched his 50th goal (one of five on the night!) in his 39th game, topping Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy as the fastest to 50 goals in one season. Gretzky scored 46 and 47 in the first period, 48 in the second and 49 and 50 in the third.
10 IN 1
On Feb. 7, 1976, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Darryl Sittler set another record that may never be broken: 10 points in one game. Sittler tallied six goals and four assists in the Maple Leafs 11-4 win over the Boston Bruins.
3 IN 1
Before facing off against the Maple Leafs on Jan. 26, 1946, Chicago forward Alex Kaleta visited Sammy Taft’s hat store in Toronto and came to this agreement (or so the legend goes): score three goals against the Leafs and get a free hat. Kaleta notched four for the Black Hawks and so born was the hat trick. A few years later, on Oct. 11, 1953, Gordie Howe scored a goal, set up Red Kelly for another and then fought Fernie Flaman, his efforts (a goal, assist and scrap) later crowned the “Gordie Howe hat trick”.
A truly legendary goal in NHL history, Bobby Orr flew through the air as he scored the overtime winner in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final on May 10, 1970, lifting the Bruins to their first Cup since 1941 and a sweep of the St. Louis Blues. Ray Lussier’s shot of Orr in flight went on to become one of the most famous hockey photos ever.
After scoring 50 goals in 78 games for the Chicago Blackhawks, a disgruntled Bobby Hull bolted the struggling NHL in 1972 for a substantial pay raise (10 years for $1.75 million plus a $1 million signing bonus) with the Winnipeg Jets of the rival World Hockey Association. Hull scored more than 300 goals as a Jet, eventually returning to the NHL following the 1979 NHL-WHA merger.
ACE BAILEY INJURY
Ace Bailey helped the Maple Leafs to a Stanley Cup in 1932, but less than one year later his career was over. Tripped into the boards by Bruins’ legend Eddie Shore, Bailey fractured his skull on Dec. 12, 1933, and though he never played again Bailey miraculously recovered and lived until age 88.
Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press
<!– Photo: CPT105381946.jpg, Caption: Wayne Gretzky smiles as he tries on his new jersey after being traded to the Los Angeles Kings from the Edmonton Oilers August 10, 1988 in Los Angeles.
The Edmonton Oilers rocked the hockey world in August 1988 when they sent the face of the league to Los Angeles for a package of players, picks and cash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Reed Saxon –>