Two of the most legendary players to ever play in the National Hockey League were traded on this date. Also, Feb. 27 was a very date in the city of Chicago as well as the during the entire decade of the 1980s. Let’s take our daily trip back in time and relive all the best moments this has given us over the years.
Two Legends Are Traded
Bobby Hull was one of the first major stars to jump ship to the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1972, after a contract dispute in Chicago. He returned after the WHA folded and four teams, including the Jets, joined the NHL. His first season back was his final one in professional hockey and was far from the most memorable in his career.
On Feb. 27, 1980, Hull was traded by the Jets to the Hartford Whalers for future considerations. He joined his former longtime rival, Gordie Howe, on the Whalers. He played his final nine regular-season games for Hartford, scoring two goals and seven points. He retired following three final Stanley Cup Playoff games. He attempted a comeback with the New York Rangers the following season, at the suggestion of Herb Brooks, but he called it quits after five exhibition games.
The Los Angeles Kings traded Wayne Gretzky to the St. Louis Blues, on Feb. 27, 1996, for forwards Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif, Roman Vopat and a first and fifth-round draft pick. This trade made big headlines but failed to have much of an impact on either team.
Gretzky scored eight goals and 21 points in his 18 games, but the Blues only won six times. They were eventually eliminated in the second round of the playoff and he signed with the Rangers in the offseason. Johnson had the best run with the Kings with 62 goals and 141 points over eight seasons. Tardif and Volpat combined for five goals and 13 points and neither player drafted ever made the NHL.
Chicago Blackhawks’ Greats Steal the Show
Glenn Hall became the first goaltender in Blackhawks history to win 200 games, on Feb. 27, 1964, in a 4-2 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings.
A decade later, on Feb. 27, 1974, Tony Esposito became just the fourth goaltender in NHL history to record five 30-win seasons, in a 3-1 Blackhawks win at the Minnesota North Stars. Dennis Hull, Bobby’s younger brother, led the scoring with two goals and an assist.
Stan Mikita became the eighth member of the 500-goal club, on Feb. 27, 1977, with a third-period goal in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 loss to the visiting Vancouver Canucks. He beat goaltender Cesare Maniago for the milestone goal.
Denis Savard picked up an assist, on Feb. 27, 1982, in Chicago’s 5-3 win at the Los Angeles Kings. This gave him 100 points on the season, making him just the second player to hit triple digits in single-season scoring in team history. He finished the 1981-82 season with 119 points, breaking Hull’s old record of 107 points set in 1968-69. Savard had another milestone, a dozen years later as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, when he became the 96th player to appear in 1,000 games.
Troy Murray scored his third career hat trick and added two assists, on Feb. 27, 1986, and Ed Olczyk had two goals and two assists in the Blackhawks’ 6-3 win at the Kings. These two are both now color commentators in Chicago, with Murray on the radio and Olczyk on the TV side.
On Feb. 27, 1992, Russian defenseman Igor Kravchuk made his NHL debut after leading the “Unified Team” to the Olympic gold medal. He scored his first career goal to help the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 4-2. He went on to play 699 games, over 12 seasons, with the Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Blues, Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers.
The Blackhawks acquired veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen, on Feb. 27, 2015, from the Philadelphia Flyers for a pair of draft picks. He appeared in 16 regular-season games and another 18 during the postseason. His 16-season NHL career ended with captain Jonathan Toews handing him the Stanley Cup in June.
Patrick Kane scored his 40th goal of the season, on Feb. 27, 2019, in a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. This gave the NHL two 40-goal scorers before the end of February for the first time since Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby did it in 2009-10. Kane became the seventh player in Blackhawks’ history to have more than one 40-goal season.
A Great Day for Goaltenders
Terry Sawchuk became the third goaltender in NHL history to record 300 victories, on Feb. 27, 1960, in a Red Wings’ 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kirk McLean became the first goalie in Canucks’ franchise history to record 200 wins, on Feb. 27, 1997, in a 6-2 victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Martin Gelinas led the offensive attack by scoring four goals and added an assist.
On Feb. 27, 2000, Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils became the goaltender in league history to win at least 35 games in four straight seasons. He earned his 40th career shutout by blanking his hometown Montreal Canadiens 3-0.
Three years later, Tomas Vokoun became the first netminder in Nashville Predators history to post back-to-back shutouts, when he earned the ninth of his career in a 6-0 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
Henrik Lundqvist became the first goaltender in NHL history to put up at least 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons in the league, on this date in 2012. He only needed to make 13 saves in his milestone victory, a 2-0 Rangers’ win over the rival Devils.
The Awesome 80s
Brent Sutter scored the first goal of his NHL career and added an assist, on Feb. 27, 1981, in a New York Islanders’ 5-1 win at Vancouver. This was the first of his 363 career goals, 287 of which came during his 12 seasons with the Islanders.
On that same night, Kent Nilsson had three goals and an assist to become the third player in Atlanta/Calgary Flames history to score 100 points in a season. His second straight game with a hat trick came in a 5-1 win over the Whalers.
Rick Middleton became the sixth player in Boston Bruins’ franchise history to score 250 goals, on Feb. 27, 1983, in a 4-3 win at the Whalers. He finished his night with two goals and an assist.
Later that evening, Andy Moog made 25 saves to record his first career shutout in the Edmonton Oilers’ 3-0 blanking of the Jets. This was just the second shutout by an Oilers netminder since they joined the NHL in 1979.
Staying with Edmonton, on Feb. 27, 1984, Paul Coffey became the first defenseman in team history to score 100 goals. He also added two assists as the Oilers tied a team record with its eighth consecutive win, a 6-5 overtime victory at the Jets.
Steve Yzerman kicked off a busy night, on Feb. 27, 1988, by picking up an assist in a 5-4 loss at the Quebec Nordiques. This gave him 100 points on the season, become just the fourth player in Red Wings’ team history to do so.
In Montreal, on this night, Bob Gainey, known for his defense, scored the only hat trick of his 16-season NHL career to lead the Canadiens to a 6-0 win over the Jets.
Also, on this same evening, Geoff Courtnall netted a hat trick while Cam Neely had two goals and two assists as the Bruins beat the North Stars 7-4, after falling behind 2-0 just 34 seconds into the game. Steve Kasper picked up his 200th career assist while playing in his 500th NHL game.
Gretzky picked up three assists, on Feb. 27, 1989, to give him 138 points for the season, in the Kings’ 6-4 loss at the Rangers. This broke the franchise record for the most points in one season, set by Marcel Dionne on 1979-80. On the winning side, Guy Lafleur scored the 17th and final hat trick of his Hall of Fame career. This was the only hat trick he scored with the Rangers.
Odds & Ends
St. Louis Blues signed free agent Philippe Bozon, on Feb. 27, 1992, who became the first player born in France to dress in an NHL game. He played 144 games for the Blues, scoring 15 goals and 41 points.
Joe Mullen became the first U.S.-born player to score 900 career points, on Feb. 27, 1993, when he scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Penguins in a 3-3 tie with the Lightning. Defenseman Larry Murphy played in his 1,000th career game, as well.
Also, on this date, Pat LaFontaine scored twice and added an assist in the Buffalo Sabres’ 8-4 loss to the Canadiens. This gave him 114 points, a new Sabres’ record for the most in one season.
Sweden beat Canada 3-2 in a shootout, on Feb. 27, 1994, to win the Olympic gold medal in Lillehammer, Norway. In the seventh round, Peter Forsberg beat Corey Hirsch for his second goal of the shootout. Paul Kariya had a chance to tie the game, but Tommy Salo made the save to give Sweden the gold.
Teemu Selanne scored his 300th career goal, on Feb. 27, 1999, and added three assists in the Ducks’ 4-1 win at the San Jose Sharks. He was the sixth-fastest player to reach the 300-goal plateau.
Pat Verbeek picked up two assists, on Feb. 27, 2000, to help the Red Wings earn a 3-1 win over the Lightning. He joined Dale Hunter as the only player in league history to score 1,000 career points while racking up 2,000 penalty minutes. The victory made Scotty Bowman the only head coach to win 300 games with two teams. This was his 300th win in Detroit after he won 419 games in Montreal.
Mario Lemieux became the seventh player in NHL history to score 1,600 career points, on Feb. 27, 2003, with two assists during the Penguins’ 5-4 loss to the Kings.
Brett Hull became the third player to score 100 game-winning goals, on Feb. 27, 2002, when he scored in overtime to give the Red Wings a 3-2 win over the Panthers. One year later, he scored two goals and added an assist to reach 1,300 career points in a 7-3 victory against the Maple Leafs.
Happy Birthday to You
A group of 27 current and former NHL players have been born on this date. The most successful of the Feb. 27 birthday boys include Jerry Butler (70), John Davidson (68), Robert Kron (54), Dallas Eakins (54), Mike Sullivan (53), Jaroslav Modry (50), Braydon Coburn (36), Casey Cizikas (30), Mike Matheson (27) and Matthew Highmore (25).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. 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 shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being 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. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.