Today in Hockey History: Sept. 5

One of the most popular players to ever play on Broadway signed on for one more National Hockey League season on this date. Also, the Pittsburgh Penguins added a huge piece of their recent championship success.

Messier Goes One More Round

Mark Messier is one of the most popular players in New York Rangers history. His leadership and style of play were very easy to cheer for. Captaining the 1994 Stanley Cup championship team sure didn’t hurt his popularity either.

Mark Messier of the New York Rangers
Messier hoists the Stanley Cup (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

After signing with the Vancouver Canucks in 1997, Messier returned to the Rangers in 2000. On Sept. 5, 2003, Messier signed a one-year contract to return for his 25th and final NHL season. At age 43, Messier played in 76 games during the 2003-04 season and scored 18 goals and 43 points. He retired with 1,844 points in his career, putting him just six behind the legendary Gordie Howe for the second-most in league history.

Malkin Inks First Deal

On Sept. 5, 2006, the Penguins signed forward Evgeni Malkin, who they drafted with the second overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, behind Alex Ovechkin. The 20-year-old Russian star scored 33 goals and 85 points during the 2006-07 and won the Calder Trophy for being the top rookie in the league.

Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Malkin has been a star since arriving in Pittsburgh. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Malkin has played in 907 games for the Penguins over the past 14 seasons. He won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring in both 2009 and 2012, with 113 and 109 points respectively. He also won the Hart Trophy for being the league’s most valuable player in 2012. He has been a part of three Stanley Cup Championships, including in 2009 when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the postseason. At the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, Malkin has 416 career goals and 1,076 points.

First Hall of Fame Ceremony

The Hockey Hall of Fame was established in 1943 with the first induction class coming in 1945. However, the first induction ceremony doesn’t take place until Sept. 5, 1959, at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

The 1959 class consisted of just three players. Jack Adams was inducted as a player, but his 36 seasons as head coach and general manager of the Detroit Red Wings is what most people know him for. He is still the only person to ever win a Stanley Cup as a player, coach and general manager.

Forward Cy Denneny was also inducted on this night. He scored 247 goals and 336 points in 329 games over 12 NHL seasons. All but one of those seasons came with the original Ottawa Senators, who he won three Stanley Cups with. His final season, 1928-29, came with the Boston Bruins where he won a fourth championship.

Goaltender Tiny Thompson rounded out the group. He spent 10 full seasons with the Bruins and two with the Red Wings. He won a total of 284 games and posted a career 2.07 goals-against average (GAA). He won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 1929 and was a four-time Vezina Trophy winner, which was given out the goalie who allowed the fewest goals at this time.

Since this was the first-ever induction ceremony, the previous inductees were also honored on this evening, with 31 of the 34 living members in attendance.

Odds & Ends

Team Canada hosted the United States at the Montreal Forum, on Sept. 5, 1976, for a round-robin game in the first-ever Canada Cup. This was the second game for each team. The United States lost the Sweden 5-2, while Canada opened the tournament with a convincing 11-2 beating of Finland.

Canada improved to 2-0 in the round-robin with a 4-2 victory over the Americans. Phil Esposito and Pete Mahovlich scored early power-play goals to set the tone before Bobby Hull increased the lead to 3-0 before the end of the first period.

Bobby Hull Winnipeg Jets
Hull, who was playing in the WHA at the time, helped Canada beat the United States. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Fred Ahern and Steve Jensen scored in the second period to bring the United States to within one goal before Darryl Sittler iced the game with a late empty-net goal. Bobby Orr and Marcel Dionne both had two assists and goaltender Rogie Vachon made 14 saves.

Goaltender Bob Essensa signed with the Phoenix Coyotes on Sept. 5, 1999, after spending the previous three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. This was Essensa’s second stint with the franchise. He was originally drafted by the then Winnipeg Jets in the fourth-round (69th overall) of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. He spent six seasons with the Jets and won a career-high 33 wins in 1992-93. Essensa played in 30 games for the Coyotes during the 1999-00 season, picking up 13 wins with a .898 save percentage (SV%) and 2.78 GAA.

At the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, New York Islanders general manager traded defenseman Zdeno Chára, forward Bill Muckalt and the second overall draft pick (Jason Spezza) to the Ottawa Senators for forward Alexei Yashin. Milbury doubled down, on Sept. 5, 2001, by signing Yashin to a 10-year, $87.5 million contract.

Alexei Yashin
Yashin never quite lived up to his big contract in New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe /Getty Images)

In his first season, Yashin helped the Islanders to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight years. He scored 32 goals and 75 points, which was down a bit from his final two seasons in Ottawa. This was the most productive of his five seasons in New York. Following the 2006-07 season, the Islanders bought out the second half of the contract.

Happy Birthday to You

A total of 19 current and former players were born on this date. The first was Lloyd Gross, born on Sept. 5, 1905, who played in 52 games in between 1927 and 1935 for four different teams. The most recent birthday boy to play in the NHL is Rangers forward Filip Chytil, who turns 21 today.

Filip Chytil New York Rangers
Happy 21st Birthday, Filip Chytil! (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Don Maloney, born on Sept. 5, 1958, has had the best career out of this group. He played in 765 games with the Rangers, Hartford Whalers and Islanders between 1978 and 1990. He scored 214 goals and 564 points in his career.

Other notable players born on this date include Dave Dryden (79), Craig Smith (31), Lucas Wallmark (25) and the late John Ferguson.


Sign up for our “Hockey History” newsletter for more posts like this.