On February 3 in NYR history: Adam Graves joins the immortals

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 03: Former New York Rangers player Adam Graves #9 speaks during a ceremony retiring his jersey prior to a game between the New York Rangers and the Atlanta Thrashers on February 03, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 03: Former New York Rangers player Adam Graves #9 speaks during a ceremony retiring his jersey prior to a game between the New York Rangers and the Atlanta Thrashers on February 03, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) /

What happened on February 3 in the history of the New York Rangers

On this date in 2009, the New York Rangers honored one of the best players to ever wear their jersey, Adam Graves.  They raised his number nine to the rafters to join Rod Gilbert,  Eddie Giacomin and teammates Brian Leetch, Mark Messier and Mike Richter as Rangers to have their numbers retired.

In a pregame ceremony, Graves was joined by Leetch, Messier and Richter and in a surprise, members of the cast of the The Sopranos and he was given a guitar signed by Bruce Springsteen.

Graves will not make it into the hockey Hall of Fame,  but he is a Ranger immortal.  He played 10 years with the Rangers and was only the second player in franchise history to score over 50 goals in one season. During his time in New York he was as known for his charitable work off the ice as much as his play on the ice and that continues to today.

One note of trivia.  He actually once wore number 11 for the Rangers, but gave it up when Mark Messier arrived, taking number nine instead.

As for the game, the Rangers dropped a 2-1 decision to the Atlanta Thrashers in a shootout.  Markus Naslund forced the overtime with  goal with only 10.7 seconds left in the third period.

Out of the stands and into the net

On this date in 1962, Dave Dryden made his debut in goal for the New York Rangers against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The older brother of Hall of Famer Ken Dryden, Dave played almost 450 games in the NHL and WHA, but it’s how he made his NHL that was interesting.  He came into the game in relief of an injured Gump Worsley and he was the Rangers’ version of the Carolina Zamboni driver who came in and played.

Worsley played one period and 27 seconds into the second period he fell on his elbow making a save.  Unable to lift his arm, the Rangers called on Dryden, a high school student and junior hockey player to come in to replace Worsley.  Dryden just happened to be at Maple Leaf Gardens to watch the game.

Dryden played two periods, allowing three goals on 26 shots and taking the loss.  He wouldn’t make his next NHL appearance for almost three years when he was signed by the Chicago Black Hawks. Playing in that game might not have been the wisest move for Dryden. He had been hopeful of getting an athletic scholarship to a Canadian University but was ineligible because he was considered a professional.

Scoring records….against the Rangers

On February 3, 1944 the Detroit Red Wings beat the Rangers 12-2 at Olympia Stadium.  This came just 11 days after they had trounced the Rangers 15-0 in the most one-sided game in NHL history.    That meant they had scored 27 goals in two straight games against the same team, an NHL record.

Not only that, but Syd Howe of the Red Wings scored six goals in that 12-2 game.  That had been accomplished five times before, but not in 23 years and was one behind the NHL record of seven by Joe Malone of the Quebec Bulldogs in 1920.  The NHL would not see another player score six goals in a game until Red Berenson of the St Louis Blues did it in 1968.

A first (really a second) in Colorado

In 1996 on this date, the Rangers played their first game in Colorado against the Avalanche, losing 7-1.  The Avalanche had moved to Colorado from Quebec in the 1995-96 season and went on to win the Stanley Cup in their first season in their new home.

It was the Rangers first game in Denver since January 29, 1982 when they played the Colorado Rockies for the last time at the  McNichols Sports Arena before that team relocated to New Jersey.  This was the first time the Rangers had lost a game in Denver since January 1981.

Today’s birthdays

26 present and former NHL players were born on February 3  including one former Ranger in the Hall of Fame

On this date in 1912, Lynn Patrick was born in Victoria, British Columbia.  His father was Rangers and hockey legend Lester Patrick, his brother was former Ranger Muzz Patrick and he was the father of future Rangers executive Craig Patrick.   Lynn Patrick played his entire 10 year career in the NHL with the Rangers. The center and part-time left winger scored 145 goals and 336 points in 455 games and won the Stanley Cup with the team in 1940.  He led the league in goals in 1941-42 with 32  and was a First or Second Team All-Star twice.

He also had a brief stint coaching the Rangers for almost two seasons from 1948-1950.  He was only the third coach in franchise history, succeeding Frank Boucher. He unexpectedly quit after the 1950 season, but turn up later in Boston as coach of the Bruins.   He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Jason Muzzatti was born on this date in 1970 in Toronto, Ontario.   The goalie was the 21st selection in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft but could never stick in the NHL and found himself traded to the Rangers in 1997.  He played in six games with New York with a 0-3-2 record.

The numbers

The Rangers have played 34 times on February 3 with a pretty pathetic record, winning only 10 games in regulation.

Games: 34
Regulation wins: 10
Regulation losses: 18
Ties: 1
Overtime wins: 1
Shootout losses: 1
Points percentage: .397