December 6, 2020: This day in New York Rangers history

Hockey game . (Photo by Keystone/Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images)
Hockey game . (Photo by Keystone/Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images) /

The Cook brothers set a New York Rangers record

What happened on December 6 in the history of the New York Rangers

On December 5, 1932, brothers scored two goals each in the same game for the first and only time in franchise history.   Brothers Bill and Bun Cook each scored twice and each also added an assist in a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.

The “Bread Line” was the line composed of the two Cooks and Frank Boucher and that night, the line combined for nine points.  After falling behind 2-1 the Cooks took over in the second period. Bun scored his two goals while Bill tallied one goal.  Bill added his second goal late in the third period.

The Cooks were one of 10 brother combinations who have played together with the Blueshirts.  Here is a list:

  • Bill and Bun Cook – 1926-36, Stanley Cup winners in 1928 and 1933
  • Muzz and Lynn Patrick -1937-46, Stanley Cup winners in 1940
  • Mac and Neil Colville – 1935-42, 1945-47, Stanley Cup winners in 1940
  • Bill and Grant Warwick – 1941-43
  • Bill and Gus Kyle  -1949-50
  • Andy and Frank Bathgate – Frank played two games in 1953
  • Greg and Pat Hickey  – Greg played on game in 1978
  • Dave and Don Maloney – 1978-85
  • James and Steve Patrick – 1984-86
  • Eric and Marc Staal – 2016

D-Day for coaches

There were two coaching changes on December 6.   On this date in 1951, Neil Colville resigned as head coach due to health reasons and was replaced by Bill Cook.  Colville, 37,  made the announcement at a luncheon with hockey writers, taking them by surprise. He cited ill health and the Rangers last place position in the standings.   He had coached the team for just over a year to a record of 26-41-26.

Cook was the coach of the Saskatoon Quakers when he was hired to replace Colville.  Cook didn’t last long either, finishing out this season and coaching the next season, missing the playoffs both years.

On this date in 1965, Red Sullivan was relieved of his duties after just over two years as head coach by GM Emile Francis.   Sullivan was reassigned to the newly created position of “coordinator of player personnel and scouting” with the team in fifth place with a 5-10-5 record.

This was the first of three instances when GM Francis fired his head coach and took over behind the bench.  He remained behind the bench for three seasons as Coach-GM.

Hello Canucks

On this date in 1970, the Vancouver Canucks played the Rangers for the first time in franchise history and the Canucks played their first game in New York City, losing 4-1 at Madison Square Garden.  The Rangers won the game handily, jumping out to a 4-0 lead on goals by Tim Horton, Ron Stewart, Walt Tkaczuk and Bob Nevin.

Coaching milestones

Two coaches notched their 500th career wins on this date against the Blueshirts.  In 2001, Pat Quinn of the Toronto Maple Leafs won game number 500 in a 6-3 victory at Madison Square Garden.  Quinn was the seventh coach to achieve the 500  win total.

Thirteen years later, on December 6, 2014, Mike Babcock registered his 500th coaching win as the Red Wings beat the Rangers 3-2 at the Joe Louis Arena.  Babcock was the 19th coach to reach that milestone.

The numbers

The Rangers have played 34 games on December 6 in their history.  It has not been a good day for them with only 11 regulation wins.

Regulation wins:  11
Regulation losses:  15
Ties:  7
Overtime wins: 1
Points percentage:   .455

Looking back

On each day, we look back at what the Rangers did one, five and ten years ago.  They have played in two of the three years, suffering a heartbreaking loss last season and a dominant win five years ago.

Last year, 2019 – Montreal 2, Rangers 1

In what has been a hallmark of the Blueshirts for the last few seasons, the Rangers blew a point in the standings when Nate Thompson scored the game winning goal with only 1:07 remaining at the Garden.   Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal in the first period.  Brendan Smith answered with an unassisted goal in the second period.

Both Carey Price (29 saves) and Alexandar Georgiev (31 saves) were named stars of the game in a goaltenders duel.  With the loss the Rangers remained above .500 with a 14-11-3 record.

5 years ago,  2015 –  Rangers 4, Ottawa 1

On this date five years ago, the Blueshirts overwhelmed the Senators 4-1 to improve to 18-7-3.  They were led by Derick Brassard’s two goals.  Someone in the Senator’s front office must have been impressed as they traded Mika Zibanejad for Brassard after the season.

10 years ago, 2010 – No game