The old saying “Records are made to be broken” has been proven to be true many times over. Numerous records that were once considered unreachable have been surpassed in recent years. Who would have thought that a number of bulked up sluggers would have hit more than 61 home runs in a season with a little help from their pharmaceutical friends!
But records for a single game or a season are more reachable than the cumulative statistics of a player’s entire career or his years with a single team. And with free agency and salary cap issues the chances of a player staying with a single team for his entire career are diminishing all the time.
Of course every team is different. How long do you think it will take Sidney Crosby to break Pittsburgh’s All-Time goals or points records? In 915 games with the Penguins Mario Lemieux scored 690 goals and added 1033 assists for 1723 points.
As of early December “Sid the Kid” had 209 goals, 351 assists and 560 points in only 404 games and is already seventh on the Pen’s All-Time scoring list. So it’s more than likely that Crosby will be a Penguin for a long time and in another four or five seasons may be ready to knock Lemieux down from the top spot.
But the Rangers are a different story. They’ve got 85 years of history behind them and some of their All-Time records seem unreachable especially when you consider the number of players that have been in and out of the Rangers dressing room during the past decade.
For example, Harry Howell holds the Rangers record for Games Played at 1,160. But it took Howell 17 seasons to reach that milestone.
Are there any Rangers on the current roster who you think will be around that long? Harry is trailed by Brian Leetch (1,129) and Rod Gilbert (1,065). Among active Blueshirts Michal Rozsival has played the most games as a Ranger (421) but it’s doubtful that at age 32 he will around long enough to even reach Rod Seiling’s 644 games or Don Maloney’s 653. But Dan Girardi (310), Mark Staal (274), Brandon Dubinsky (269), Ryan Callahan (253) and Michael Del Zotto (114) are all in their early to mid 20’s and have a good shot at least surpassing Mark Messier’s 698 games and Andy Bathgate’s 719.
One interesting note about the All-Time Games Played list is that Petr Nedved (never one of my favorites) played more games as a Ranger (478) then Brad Park (465), Anders Hedberg (465) and Barry Beck (415). Who knew?
Gilbert’s franchise record of 406 goals also seems safe for a while. Chris Drury leads all current Blueshirts with 61 career Ranger goals followed by Dubinsky (60) Rozsival (41) and surprisingly Sean Avery (40). The next reachable plateau for all of these guys is Dave Maloney’s 70 goals followed by Clint Smith’s 80. On their way up the ladder they will be passing Mike Allison with 63 goals and Barry Beck and Eric Lindros with 66 goals each.
Leetch leads the team in assists with 741, followed by Gilbert (615) and Jean Ratelle (481). Among current Rangers, Rozsival leads with 172 assists followed by Drury (146) and Dubinsky (138). Rozsival needs four assists to pass Ron Duguay and Ott Heller at 176 and 30 more to pass Nedved who has 202.
Gilbert’s 1,021 points also seems unreachable. Rod is followed on the all time list by Leetch (981), Ratelle (817), Bathgate (729) and Messier (691). Rozsival leads all current Rangers with 174 points while Dubinsky (152) is ready to pass Lindros (158), Bobby Rousseau (157) and Sergei Zubov (156).
Once again I was very surprised to see that Nedved accumulated more points as a Ranger (351) than Bob Nevin (342) and Duguay (340).
Ron Greschner is the All-Time leader in penalty minutes with 1,226. Greschner is followed by Jeff Beukeboom (1,157), Howell (1,147) and Dave Maloney (1,113) who got a lot of those minutes arguing a two-minute minor into a five-minute major. Sean Avery leads active Rangers with 529 minutes followed by Rozsival (372) and Dubinsky (291) who needs just 21 minutes to pass Nedved at 312.
Now we come to goaltending, where Mike Richter leads in Games (666) and victories (301). But Henrik Lundqvist is moving up the list very quickly. Kink Hernik’s 365 games played ranks him just behind Chuck Rayner (376) and his 191 wins has already moved him past Davie Kerr (157) with John Vanbiesbrouck (200) and Gump Worsley (204) the next in line.
Eddie Giacomin leads the team in shutouts with 49, but Lundqvist already has 29 blankings and has moved past Richter (24) and is one behind John Ross Roach (30).
Some of the All-Time records listed above will probably never be broken due to the nature of the NHL these days. Players just don’t stay with one team that long anymore.
But for the first time in many years the Rangers now have a good core of young players who, barring injuries and trades and with the right contract situations could be around for a long time and could break some of these long standing records. Or at the very least, push Nedved down the list a few notches.