If there is one thing that has been evident in sports over the years it is that no record is completely untouchable. As athletes become bigger, faster and stronger, coaching improves and more money is poured into training techniques records previously thought unassailable inevitably fall. However, even with today’s superior athletes there are a handful of records in every sport that are in another stratosphere, and it is hard to imagine them ever falling. I combed through the NHL record books and tried to come up with a list of the top 5 most untouchable records in the sport of hockey. Here are my picks:
5 -Most Goals in a Single Season by a Rookie: 76 by Teemu Selanne
In 1992-93 Teemu Selanne stood the NHL record book on its ear. The Finnish Flash thrilled Winnipeg Jets fans all season long, scoring goals at an unheard of clip for a player in his first NHL season. He finished the season with 76 goals, demolishing Mike Bossy’s record for of 53 by a country mile. In the nearly two decades since not a single player, rookie or otherwise, has scored 70 goals in a single season.
4 – Most Points in a Single Season by a Defenseman: 139 by Bobby Orr
Though Wayne Gretzky is widely considered the greatest hockey player of all time, Bobby Orr certainly throws his hat in the ring for consideration. The eight time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman was the class of the league in the 1970s. In the 1970-71 season he put up a performance for the ages, scoring 37 goals and adding an NHL record 102 assists for 139 points. Even Paul Coffey, one of the greatest offensive defenseman of all time, playing for the powerful Edmonton Oilers during the peak of their dynasty, could not eclipse Orr’s mark, falling short by a single point in the 1985-86 season.
3 – Most Stanley Cup Victories by a Player: 11 by Henri Richard
The Pocket Rocket’s record of 11 Stanley Cup championships as a player was astonishing enough back when he played in a six team league for the dominant Montreal Canadiens. In today’s NHL, with 30 teams in the mix, and under a salary cap structure that ensures parity throughout the league, it is all but inconceivable that a player will ever rack up 11 Stanley Cup rings over the course of a career. Barring a significant restructuring of the league it is pretty safe to say this is a record that will stand for all time.
2 – Most Assists in a Single Season: 163 by Wayne Gretzky
To be honest Wayne Gretzky’s records could have appeared several times on this list. During his incredible Hall of Fame career The Great One set a plethora of truly staggering records. However, for the sake of variety I decided to choose a single Gretzky record that has the best chance of standing forever. Easily the best passer to ever play the game, Gretzky outdid himself in 1985-86. That year he averaged more than two assists per game, putting up 163 helpers in just 80 games. In NHL history only one other player besides Gretzky – Mario Lemieux – has ever scored that many points in a single season, let alone assists. In my opinion this is the greatest of Gretzky’s numerous statistical feats.
1 – Most Consecutive Games Played by a Goaltender: 502 by Glenn Hall
As impressive as the other marks on this list are none can hold a candle to the incredible record set by Mr. Goalie. Between 1955 and 1962 Glenn Hall played in 502 straight games for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks. Even more impressive is the fact that he did this in an era where goaltenders didn’t even wear masks! In today’s NHL teams employ a two goalie system, and thus no modern day goal ever plays every game for his team, let alone for the 6+ full seasons it would take to break Hall’s record. If one record is truly untouchable in the sport of hockey it is this one.