On March 9 in NYR history: The first Rod Gilbert night

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 14: Former New York Rangers Rod Gilbert is honored prior to the game against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden on October 14, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 14: Former New York Rangers Rod Gilbert is honored prior to the game against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden on October 14, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

What happened on March 9 in the history of the New York Rangers

Nowadays, when a New York Rangers legend is honored, it’s usually long after they have left the team and and found a new life in retirement.  It wasn’t always like that.  On this date in 1977, the Rangers honored Rod Gilbert, the greatest scorer in their history, a distinction he holds to this day.  He was 35 years old and in his 17th season as a New York Ranger, still a productive player who scored 27 goals and 75 points that season.

To make it even sweeter, Gilbert then went out and scored a goal and assisted on another as the Rangers beat the Minnesota North Stars, 6-4.  Gilbert was the second Ranger to be honored this way, joining defenseman Harry Howell who had been honored a decade earlier.

Glibert was given plaques, a sculpture and a station wagon, driven onto the ice by former teammates Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield.   Gilbert would retire the following year, ending an 18-year career, spent all with the Rangers.  Following his retirement he was honored once again, on October 14, 1979 when his number seven was retired, the first Blueshirt to be so honored.

Gilbert passed away in 2021 after spending forty years roaming Madison Square Garden as “Mr. Ranger,” the greatest ambassador for the team, beloved by all Ranger fans.

On a side note, in net for the Rangers was Dave Tataryn, making his first NHL start on a 10-game tryout with the Blueshirts.  After a victorious debut, he would make one more losing appearance to end his NHL career.

A milestone for Boucher

On this date in 1937, Frank Boucher became the first NHL player to reach 250 career assists.  Boucher retired with 262 assists in 533 games with the Rangers.  Those were pretty good numbers at a time when it was routine to lead the league with 28 assists as Boucher did in 1933.  in 1928, he led the NHL is assists with 16.

As of today, 715 NHL players have totaled 250 assists or more in their careers.

Dave Maloney gets a hat trick

On this date in 1980 a miracle occured.  Defenseman Dave Maloney had a hat trick. It came at Madison Square Garden in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota North Stars. He joined Leo Bourgeault, Brad Park, Carol Vadnais and Ron Greschner as the only Rangers defensement to score three times in one game.

How unusual was it?  Maloney had scored all of 26 goals in 286 NHL games before notching his hat trick.  He didn’t score another goal that season, though he did add two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and he ended his career with 71 goals in 657 games.

A Ranger banned for life for betting on games

It’s a little known chapter in the history of the NHL and the player was a Ranger for only two games, but on this date in 1948, Rangers’ forward Billy Taylor was expelled from hockey for life by Commissioner Clarence Campbell for betting on game he played in, a scandal that was likened to baseball’s Black Sox scandal.

Taylor was a center who played most of his career in Toronto, leading the league in assists in 1946-47.

Taylor had been traded from the Boston Bruins to the Rangers on February 6 and the games he had bet on were mostly games involving the Bruins. He must have known something was coming as he had left the Rangers after playing two games to return home to Michigan to attend to personal business.

Taylor was eventually pardoned by Campbell in 1970 at the request of hockey executive Conn Smythe.

Today’s birthdays

There have been 26 players born on March 9 to play in the NHL.  Three have suited up for the Rangers and there is one prospect who hopes to.

Matthew Robertson was born on this date in 2001 in Edmonton, Alberta.  He was a second round selection in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.  The Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman signed his Entry Level Contract in 2019 and is currently playing for the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL.

Radek Dvorak was born on this date in 1977 in Tabor, Czechoslovakia.  A gifted scorer, the right winger was acquired from San Jose in a trade for Todd Harvey. He only played one full season in New York, scoring 31 goals.  At the trade deadline in 2003, he was traded to Edmonton for Anson Carter.

Daniel Catenacci was a center who played one game for the Rangers in 2018.  He was born on this date in 1993 in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Traded to the Rangers for Mat Bodie, he spent most of the 2017-18 season in Hartford and has played ever since in Austria.

Jim Krulicki was born on this date in 1948 in Kitchener, Ontario. He played 27 games on the left wing for the Rangers in 1970-71.    He was traded to Detroit midway though that season for Dale Rolfe, a deal that really worked out in the Rangers’ favor.  Rolfe became a fixture on the Ranger’ blue line Krulicki on 14 games in the NHL for Detroit.

The numbers

The Rangers have played 46 games on March 9 and despite a 17-19 record in regulation, their three wins after regulation puts them above .500 for the date.

Games: 45
Regulation wins: 17
Regulation losses: 19
Ties: 6
Overtime wins: 2
Overtime losses: 1
Shootout wins: 1
Points percentage: .511

More. Thoughts after the Minnesota loss. light