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Anything they can do, Gretzky already did better

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On February 2nd, 2012, Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner put on a performance for the ages.  Up until this night, Gagner had been underperforming compared to the expectations that had been set for his season with only five goals and 17 assists through 44 games played.  Gagner’s play in the first period of the Oilers v. Chicago Blackhawks was utterly non-productive, which is why no one could have predicted how the last two periods of the game would unfold.  Through the next 17 minutes and 28 seconds of his time on the ice, Sam Gagner exploded with four goals and four assists.  His eight point performance not only propelled the Oilers to a 8-4 win over the Blackhawks in front of a sold out Rexall Place, but it also solidified his name in Oilers history.  With this incredible feat, the 22-year-old Gagner tied the franchise of eight points in one game, which now stands at a three-way tie between Gagner, Coffey, and some guy named Gretzky.

Gagner’s performance that night gave way to one of the most rare events in the hockey world – a player threatening a Wayne Gretzky record.  Admittedly, Gretzky does not hold the record for most points in an NHL game.  Darryl Sittler who recorded 10 points in a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform on February 7, 1976 holds that record.  Nevertheless, Gretzky undisputedly has prevailed the greatest player in NHL history with a grand total of 2857 points in 1487 games played (1.921 points per game).

When sports fans in the United States think of the  term “Greatest athletes of All-Time,” their minds are usually clouted with names like Palmer, Jordan, Ruth, Bradshaw, Ali, Elway, Chamberlin, Montana, and etc..  Perhaps it is ironic that the most dominant athlete that has ever lived played the sport that is the least popular of the four major professional sports in the United States – ice hockey.  It’s not an opinion.  It’s not debatable.  It’s fact.  Gretzky holds or shares 61 NHL records: 40 regular season, 15 in the Stanley Cup playoffs and All-Star game.

  1. Most points: 2,857
  2. Most points, including playoffs: 3,238
  3. Most goals:  894
  4. Most goals, including playoffs: 1,016
  5. Most assists: 1,963
  6. Most assists including playoffs: 2,223
  7. Most goals by a Center: 894
  8. Most assists by a Center: 1,963
  9. Most points by a Center: 2,857
  10. Most 40-or-more goal seasons: 12
  11. Most consecutive 40-or-more goal seasons: 12 (1979-80 to 1990-91)
  12. Most 50-or-more goal seasons: 9
  13. Most 60-or-more goal seasons: 5
  14. Most consecutive 60-or-more goal seasons: 4 (1981-82 to 1984-85)
  15. Most 100-or-more point seasons: 15
  16. Most consecutive 100-or-more point seasons: 13 (1979-80 to 1991-92)
  17. Most three-or-more goal games: 50
  18. Most overtime assists: 15
  19. Highest assists-per-game average: 1.32
  20. Most points, one season: 215 (1985-86)
  21. Most points, one season, including playoffs: 255 (1984-85)
  22. Most goals, one season: 92 (1981-82)
  23. Most goals, one season, including playoffs: 100 (1983-84)
  24. Most goals, in 50 games from start of season: 61 (1981-82 and 1983-84)
  25. Most assists, one season: 163 (1985-86)
  26. Most assists, one season, including playoffs: 174 (1985-86)
  27. Most points by a center, one season: 215 (1985-86)
  28. Most goals by a center, one season: 92 (1981-82)
  29. Most assists by a center: 163 (1985-86)
  30. Most three-or-more goal games, one season: 10 (1981-82)
  31. Longest consecutive assist-scoring streak: 23 games – 48 assists (1990-91)
  32. Longest consecutive point-scoring streak: 51 games – 153 points (Oct. 5, 1983 to Jan. 28, 1984)
  33. Longest consecutive point-scoring streak from start of season: 51 games – 153 points
  34. Highest goals-per-game average, one season: 1.18 (1983-84)
  35. Highest assists-per-game average, one season: 2.04 (1985-86)
  36. Highest points-per-game average, one season: 2.77 (1983-84)
  37. Most goals, one period: 4 (tied with 10 other players)
  38. Most assists, one game: 7 (tied with Billy Taylor) (three times)
  39. Most assists, one road game: 7 (tied with Billy Taylor)
  40. Most assists, one game, by a rookie: 7 (recorded two times in rookie season)
  41. Most playoff goals: 122
  42. Most playoff assists: 260
  43. Most playoff points: 382
  44. Most game-winning goals in playoffs: 24
  45. Most three-or-more goal game in playoffs: 10
  46. Most points, one playoff year: 47 (1985)
  47. Most assists, one playoffs year: 31 (1988)
  48. Most assists in a finals series: 13 (1988)
  49. Most assists in a finals series: 10 (1988)
  50. Most assists in one series (other than finals): 14 (1985)
  51. Most shorthanded goals, one playoff year: 3 (1983)
  52. Most assists, one playoff game: 6 (1987)
  53. Most points, one playoff period: 4 (1G, 3A – 1987)
  54. Most assists, one playoff period: 3
  55. Most short-handed goals, one playoff game: 2 (1983)
  56. Most All-Star game goals: 13
  57. Most All-Star game goals, one game: 4 (1983)
  58. Most All-Star game goals, one period: 4 (1983)
  59. Most All-Star game points, one period: 4 (1983)
  60. Most All-Star game points, career: 25
  61. Most All-Star game assists, career: 12 (tied with four other players)

*Although it is not a record, it should be noted Gretzky also won four Stanley Cups – all with the Edmonton Oilers.

If that is not dominance, what is?  Although he is by no means the most talented player in the NHL, Sam Gagner now can claim to have matched a personal record of Wayne Gretzky.  That alone is an accomplishment that will last a lifetime.

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