Jan. 12 saw some great moments from some the most important players in National Hockey League history. One legend was able to return to the place he established himself. Another became the first player to achieve a new plateau. A third had to leave the game. In addition, memorable nights were had in New Jersey, Calgary and Chicago. The hockey time machine is fired up, so let’s take our daily trip back through the decades.
Detroit’s Mr. Hockey is Back
Gordie Howe, the great Gordie, stepped on the Detroit ice for the first time in almost nine years when the Hartford Whalers visited the Red Wings. After 25 seasons with the Red Wings and NHL, Howe retired in 1971. He scored 786 goals and had 1,809 assists. After six seasons with the World Hockey Association, he returned to the NHL in 1979-80 for his final tour.
With a 6-4 win over the Red Wings, the Whalers ended their nine-game losing streak. Gordie and Marty Howe, his sons Mark & Marty, were the Hartford lineup. Mark was the only Howe with two assists to his name. He ended up playing the last three seasons of his career for the Red Wings.
Lemieux Steps Away
The Pittsburgh Penguins revealed that Mario Lemieux, their star forward, was suffering from Hodgkin lymphoma on January 12, 1993. The disease was discovered early. He had to have a large lymphnode removed from his neck. Radiation treatment was also performed, which resulted in him missing nearly two months of the year.
This didn’t slow down Super Mario in the least. On March 2, 1993, he returned to the Penguins’ lineup. Lemieux played in 15 of the 19 final games of the season with at least two goals, six with four or greater, and had fifteen games with more than two points. Despite missing 22 games Lemieux still won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leader with 160 points.
Gretzky gets another first
To count the achievements of Wayne Gretzky in NHL history, we would have to get out of our shoes. On Jan. 12, 1994, he scored a pair of goals in the Los Angeles Kings’ 6-4 win over the Whalers to become the first player in league history to score 2,400 career points. His two goals made him the seventh player in Kings history to score 200 goals.
Gretzky added 457 more points before retiring in 1999. In league history, no other player has ever scored more than 2000 points. Jaromir Jagr has 1,921 points to be second in all-time scoring. The Great One had 1,963 aids.
History is made of Devils
The New Jersey Devils were the first team to make history in Detroit before the Russian Five. They made their debut on January 12, 1992. This was the night when they had Alexander Semak, forward Valeri Zelepukin, and Alexei Kasatonov as defensemen.
It was the first time that four Soviet Union-born players wore the same team uniform in league history. They combined for three points. Zelepikin scored a goal and added an assist. Kasatonov set up Kasatonov’s goal. Fetisov was sold to the Red Wings in 1995. He became part of the famous Russian Five.
A Big Date for Flames
Cliff Fletcher, who was nine months ahead of the NHL debut of the Atlanta Flames, was appointed general manager on January 12, 1972. He held the position until May 1991, when he took the role of president and general manger of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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Gary Roberts recorded his eighth career goal scoring a hat trick in a 3-1 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 12, 1996. He scored the three-goal performance in his second game after missing nearly a whole year because of a neck injury.
Jason Wiemer scored in overtime to give the Flames a win of 2-1 against the Dallas Stars on January 12, 2000. This was their eighth overtime victory of the season and tied the NHL record held by the 1987-88 Winnipeg Jets.
Milestones in Windy City
Stan Mikita scored his 450th NHL goal on January 12, 1975 when the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Rangers 4-2 at Chicago Stadium. The second-most goals in franchise history, Mikita scored 541 before he retired in 1980.
Tom Lysiak accounted for all of Chicago’s offense on Jan. 12, 1983, in their 10-3 defeat to the Edmonton Oilers. He also scored his 250th and final hat-trick of his career.ThNHL goal.
Denis Savard scored just four seconds into the third period on Jan. 12, 1986, in the Blackhawks’ 4-2 victory over the Whalers. This goal tied the NHL record of fastest goal to start a new period. It was set on Nov. 9, 1957 by Claude Provost (Montreal Canadiens). James van Riemsdyk and the Maple Leafs shared this feat on March 28, 2014.
Odds & Ends
Joe Malone scored five goals to help the Canadiens win a huge 9-4 over the Ottawa Senators on January 12, 1918. He became the first NHL player to score 20 goals in one season in its short history. This was his seventh league game with the Habs. He scored at most one goal in each of them.
Bep Guidolin, a 16-year-old rookie, scored two goals and added an assist on Jan. 12, 1943, during The Boston Bruins’ 3-0 win over the Blackhawks. Frank “Mr. Zero” Brimsek picked up the 26thHis career was his first shutout. This was the second game in a series of four that saw proceeds donated to the American Red Cross’ war fund efforts. Boston Garden raised $10,624 in total.
Staying in Boston, on Jan. 12, 1969, Ken Hodge scored two goals and set up two others in the Bruins’ 8-4 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Phil Esposito set a new team record by scoring five assists that night.
The Canadiens were the first NHL team with four different goaltenders earning shutouts in a single season on Jan. 12, 1981. In a 5-0 victory over the Oilers, Richard Sevigny, a rookie in the NHL, won his first NHL shutout.
Mike Foligno set a team record, on Jan. 12, 1985, by scoring a goal in his eighth consecutive game in the Sabres’ 1-1 tie at Montreal. The draw extended Buffalo’s unbeaten streak to 10 straight games (8-0-2).
Two years later, on Jan. 12, 1987, Charlie Simmer registered the 13,000th goal in Bruins’ history during a 4-1 win over the Rangers. The milestone goal was scored over 62 years after Bruins’ Fred Harris posted the club’s first goal on Dec. 1, 1924.
Paul Coffey scored his 270th NHL goal on Jan. 12, 1990, in the Penguins’ 6-4 road win at the Washington Capitals. Bobby Orr was second on the all time list of defensemen’s goals.
Teemu Selanne scored his 100th career goal on Jan. 12, 1994, in the Jets’ 3-2 win over the visiting Sabres. He was the second-quickest player in league history to score 100 goal in only 130 games. This was only one more than Mike Bossy’s 100th goal in 129 games with the New York Islanders.
Ray Ferraro scored his 700th career goal with a goal on January 12, 1999. He scored in overtime to give the Kings a win of 3-2 against the rival Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Joe Sakic scored his 350th goal and had an assist in the win of the Colorado Avalanche over the Blackhawks 4-1 one year later.
J.J. Daigneault, a defenseman, made history when he made his debut for the Minnesota Wild on January 12, 2001. He was the second player to represent 10 teams in league history during a 5-0 loss against the Avalanche.
The Rangers retired Mark Messier’s No. 11, on January 12, 2006, before their game against Oilers. This was fitting as Edmonton was in town for the ceremony. His number hangs from the rafters. In New York, he spent 10 of his 25 NHL season. He scored 250 goals in New York and scored 691 points in 698 matches. He captained the team to the 1994 Stanley Cup, the franchise’s first and still only championship since 1940.
Curtis Joseph, NHL goaltender, announced his retirement Jan. 12, 2010 after 19 seasons. He was never drafted from the University of Wisconsin. Instead, he played with the St. Louis Blues and Oilers, Red Wings Maple Leafs Red Wings, Red Wings Phoenix Coyotes, Flames, and Oilers. With 943 games played and 454 career victories, he is sixth in all-time.
A group of 33 players were born on this day, including Tim Horton (the late Hall of Famer) and Marian Hossa (42). Curt Fraser (64), Jocelyn Thibault (77) and Niklas Krunwall (41), respectively. Claude Giroux (34) Maxime Lagace (29), Claude Giroux (34) and Claude Giroux (29) are other notable birthday boys. Felix Sandstrom (25) is also a notable player.
Greg Boysen is a Chicago Blackhawks writer since 2010. He also managed FanSided’s SB Nation site. He was fully credentialed and published in The Hockey News. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting Multiple YouTube showsBlackhawks Banter. He is a credentialed member of the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs as well as the Milwaukee Admirals. He also serves as a regional Scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. Follow Greg on to submit topic ideas or request interviews. TwitterReach out.