The National Hockey League not only added its most famous individual trophy on this date, but it also announced that it would double in size. All-time greats in both Montreal and Anaheim made franchise history and some very impressive streaks were extended, as well. Let’s fire up the THW time machine and look back at all the best moments from Feb. 9.
Historic New Additions
The NHL gained its first-ever individual award, on Feb. 9, 1924, when it announced Hart Trophy would be given to the player “judged to be the most valuable to his team during the regular season.” The trophy is named after Dr. David Hart, who donated the first trophy to the league. He was the son of Cecil Hart, the former head coach and general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. Frank Nighbor was the first winner of the award following the 1923-24 season. A total of 60 different players have won the Hart Trophy since its inception.
On Feb. 9, 1966, the league announced that it would be doubling in size from six teams to 12. A total of 13 proposals were made to the Board of Governors, over a three-day period, before they awarded new franchises to Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and St. Louis. Each new team had to pay a $2 million franchise fee and provide an arena with a capacity of at least 12,500. The “Second Six” officially entered the league at the start of the 1967-68 season and formed the new West Division. From 1968 to 1970, the winner of the West Division played the champion of the East Division, made of the Original Six teams, in the Stanley Cup Final.
Keeping the Streak Alive
Bryan Trottier scored his 24th and 25th goals of the season, on Feb. 9, 1985, to lead the New Islanders to a 4-1 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. This made him the first player in NHL history to score at least 25 goals in each of his first 10 seasons.
Mike Gartner became the third NHL player to score at least 30 goals in 13 straight seasons, on Feb. 9, 1992, when he scored in the first period of the New York Rangers’ 5-5 tie with Detroit Red Wings. He tied the record for the most consecutive 30-goal seasons that shared at the time by Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito.
Martin Brodeur became the first goaltender in league history to win at least 30 games in eight straight seasons, on Feb. 9, 2003, when he and the New Jersey Devils beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2. He went on to extend his league-record streak to 12 straight seasons of 30 or more victories.
Guy Lafleur Does it All
Lafleur had many great moments during his Hall of Fame career, but perhaps the most meaningful happened on this very busy date.
He scored two goals and added an assist, on Feb. 9, 1975, as the Canadiens set an NHL record for most consecutive road games without a loss in a 4-4 tie at the Buffalo Sabres. This was their 16th straight game away from home without a defeat. They had gone 10-0-6 since losing 6-4 at the Sabres on Nov. 24, 1974.
Two years later, on Feb. 9, 1977, Lafleur had three assists as the Canadiens extended their team-record home undefeated streak to 21 straight games (16-0-5) with a 6-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Goaltender Ken Dryden recorded his 33rd career shutout in the victory.
His biggest moment on this date came in 1984 when he scored three goals and added an assist in the Habs’ 7-6 loss to the Canucks. His four-point night gave 1,220 in his career and put him ahead of Jean Beliveau as the team’s all-time leading scorer. His 728 assists and 1,246 are still the most by any player in Montreal’s long and storied franchise history.
Paul Kariya Rewrites the Record Book
Kariya became the first face of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim franchise shortly after his arrival in 1994. On Feb. 9, 2000, he became the first player in team history to score 200 goals when he lit the lamp and added an assist in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Dallas Stars.
Exactly one year later, Kariya scored two goals to become the first player to record 500 points in a Mighty Duck uniform. His milestone came in another loss on home ice, this time 4-3 to the Washington Capitals.
He had one more memory on this date, in 2003, when he scored his 20th goal of the season for the seventh time in his career as the Mighty Ducks beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1.
All-Star Game History
Mike Bossy of the Islanders scored twice, on Feb. 9, 1982, to lead the Wales Conference to a 4-2 win over the Campbell Conference. The 1982 edition of the NHL All-Star Game was hosted by Washington and played at the Capital Center in Landover, MD. Bossy was named the MVP of the game for his efforts.
Mario Lemieux set an All-Star Game record, on Feb. 9, 1988, with six points. He scored three goals and set up three more to lead the Wales Conference to a 6-5 win over the Campbell Conference in St. Louis. Mats Naslund of the Canadiens also set an All-Star Game record by recording five assists.
Odds & Ends
Tiny Thompson became the first goaltender in Boston Bruins’ franchise history to record 100 victories, on Feb. 9, 1932, with a 2-1 win against the visiting Rangers.
Twenty years later, on Feb. 9, 1952, Toronto Maple Leafs rookie George Armstrong scored the first goal of his NHL career in a 3-2 win over the Canadiens. He went on to score 296 goals and 713 points during his 21 total seasons with the team.
Ken Hodge was the main facilitator, on Feb. 9, 1971, when he assisted on all six Bruins goals in a 6-3 victory over the Rangers. Esposito had a goal and four assists to extend Boston’s home unbeaten streak to 21 straight games (20-0-1).
The “Silver Jet” Dennis Hull scored twice to give him 200 NHL goals, on Feb. 9, 1973, as the Blackhawks beat the Atlanta Flames 4-3. Overshadowed by his older brother Bobby, Hull scored 303 and 654 points during his 13-season career. All but 55 of his 904 games were played with the Blackhawks before spending one final season with the Red Wings.
On Feb. 9, 1977, Gerry Desjardins became the first goaltender in Sabres’ history to win 30 games in one season, with a 2-1 road victory at the Rangers.
Staying in Buffalo, on Feb. 9, 1984, Gilbert Perreault picked up his 700th career assist as the Sabres’ beat the Devils 8-4.
Hall of Famer Michel Goulet scored his 300th NHL goal, on Feb. 9, 1986, as the Quebec Nordiques beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime.
The Bruins’ Ray Bourque netted his 900th career point with a goal, on Feb. 9, 1991, in a 5-3 win over the Blackhawks. He became just the fifth defenseman to join the NHL’s 900-point club.
Pavel Bure set the Canucks’ single-season record for goals, on Feb. 9, 1993, with his 45th and 46th of the season during a 5-1 road win at the Nordiques. He broke the previous record of 45 goals scored by Tony Tanti during the 1983-84 season.
The Philadelphia Flyers acquired John LeClair, Eric Desjardins and Gilbert Dionne from the Canadiens, on this date in 1995, for Mark Recchi and a third-round draft pick. Leclair went on to play 649 games for the Flyers, scoring 333 goals and 643 points. Desjardins became a fixture on the blue line, spending the next 11 seasons in Philadelphia. Recchi played 346 games over parts of five seasons in Montreal, scoring 120 goals and 322 points before being traded back to the Flyers in 1999.
Owen Nolan picked up an assist to give him 500 career points, on Feb. 9, 2000, in the San Jose Sharks’ 4-1 loss at the Florida Panthers. He set up Jeff Friesen’s tally, who reached the 20-goal mark for the fourth straight season.
Two years later, on Feb. 9, 2002, Sergei Fedorov scored the 350th and 351st goals of his career as the Red Wings earned a 3-2 road win at the Ottawa Senators.
Happy Birthday to You
Bruins all-time great and Hall of Famer Dit Clapper, who was born on this date in 1907, headlines a group of 21 current and former NHL players with birthdays today. Other notable players from this lot are Andre Savard (68), Chris Nilan (63), Ed Hospodar (62), Neil Sheehy (61), Nigel Dawes (36), Christian Folin (30), Andre Burakovsky (26), Mathieu Joseph (24) and Dylan Cozens (20).