What happened on February 7 in the history of the New York Rangers
Once upon a time, players avoided playing for the New York Rangers like it was the plague. One time this happened was on this date in 1960 when a proposed deal between the New York and the Detroit Red Wings officially went south. The two players swapped to the Rangers refused to report and announced their retirements. The big name in the deal was 32-year-old Red Kelly, a defenseman who had won the Norris Trophy, three Lady Byng Trophies and was a first or second team All-Star for eight straight years from 1950 to 1957.
Accompanying Kelly to the Rangers was forward Bill McNeill. Going to Detroit was forward Eddie Shack and blueliner Bill Gadsby. Both Kelly and McNell were upset with the trade and chose to quit hockey rather than play in New York.
Though the deal came down on February 5, the following day, NHL President Clarence Campbell gave the players 24 hours “to think about it.” Well, they thought about it and on this date, the deal was officially voided.
The back story was that Kelly had told a reporter that his poor play in the 1958-59 season may have been due to him playing on a broken ankle. It was front page news in Detroit and Red Wings GM Jack Adams was livid at the suggestion that they had forced him to play (probably true) and he brokered the deal to New York.
Red Kelly ultimately came out of retirement to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs for eight more seasons. He played forward instead of defense and won his fourth Lady Byng Trophy.
As for the Rangers, they were able to finally deal Bill Gadsby to Detroit in 1961 and Eddie Shack was traded to Toronto the next fall.
Kelly was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1969 and Gadsby made the Hall the following year.
36 NHL players have been born on February 7 including four former New York Rangers.
Alexandre Daigle was born ion this date in 1975 in Montreal, Quebec. He is best known as the top overall pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, selected by Ottawa. He is regarded as a bust, though he did play ten years in the NHL. He is also one of eight first overall picks in the NHL draft to play for the Rangers.
By the time he made it to New York, he had played for three teams and he was so lowly regarded, the Rangers got him from Tampa for cash. He played 58 games in the 1999-2000 season and scored eight goals and 26 points. They waived him after the season and when no team was willing to sign him, he retired at the age of 25. He came back two years later with Pittsburgh and actually scored 20 goals for Minnesota. He finished his playing career in Switzerland.
Jody Shelley was born on February 7, 1976 in Thompson, Manitoba. He played 12 years in the NHL and was one in a series of “enforcers” acquired by Glen Sather in an effort to make the team tougher. The left winger was acquired from San Jose midway through the 2010 season and played 21 games for New York.
Mike Hartman was born on this date in 1967 in Detroit, Michigan. He was one of the 1994 Black Aces who were with the Stanley Cup championship team. He played 35 games, but never got into a playoff game. His name is on the Stanley Cup as the Rangers petitioned the NHL to add Hartman and Eddie Olczyk as they said that they had missed the required number of games due to injury. He finished his career after 1994 playing in the AHL.
Tom Williams was born on this date in 1951 in Windsor, Ontario. The left winger was a second round draft pick by the Rangers in 1971. After playing 25 games in three seasons in New York, he was swapped to Los Angeles. He had his best seasons playing with the Kings, reaching a career high of 35 goals in 1976-77.
The Rangers have played 38 games on February 7 and based on their record, it’s a date they want to avoid. They have won only 10 games out of those 38 in regulation for an awful .394 points percentage, their worst record of any day in February.
Regulation wins: 10
Regulation losses: 20
Overtime wins: 1
Shootout wins: 1
Points percentage: .394