Jan 18, 2011, 1:20 PM EST
Considering the fact that he played professional hockey until he retired at 43 after the 2003-04 season concluded, maybe it shouldn’t be that mind blowing that Mark Messier turned 50 today.
Then again, maybe it’s surprising because of the Peter Pan Effect that comes from being called “Robin” to Wayne Gretzky’s “Batman” for all those years.* Yet much like other great second bananas in sports such as Scottie Pippen, Messier deserves much better than to be known as Wayne’s wingman.
* – Or maybe it’s because it doesn’t seem like he aged much in the last, oh, 10 years.
Unlike Pippen after Jordan last game with the Chicago Bulls, Messier thankfully produced some of his best work once Gretzky left in a trail of trade-related tears. He won two Stanley Cups without him: one playing among the remnants of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty after Gretzky left, the other during the famous run that broke the the New York Rangers’ Stanley Cup curse. He also won two Hart Trophies in the 1989-90 and 91-92, emphasizing once again that he was his own brilliant talent.
But beyond his abilities, Messier is known more for the mythical status he carved out thanks to his steely-eyed leadership, jutting chin/jaw and that famous guarantee he made (and backed up) during a great seven game series with the New Jersey Devils.
The 2007 Hall of Fame inductee played 25 seasons in the NHL, passing Gordie Howe for second place in league history in points (1887) behind his buddy Wayne.
“This one will last a lifetime”
Passing Gordie Howe for second all-time in points scored in NHL history:
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- Video: NHL on NBC panel breaks down the coaching situation in New Jersey 0
- Lou Lamoriello unveils highly unorthodox coaching plan 36
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks, Kings renew hostilities 3
- NHL on NBCSN: Can Capitals take advantage of depleted Penguins? 2
- Team Canada crushes Slovakia 14
- Criticism spreads to GM Lou Lamoriello after Devils fire DeBoer 10
- Eichel earns assist and scores in shootout as U.S. squeaks by Finland 2
- Canada enters World Juniors as 11/10 favorite; USA next at 9/4 5
- Devils fire DeBoer 21
- Sabres aren’t happy with league’s decision regarding Bartkowski (76)
- Report: NHL won’t hold hearing for Bartkowski hit (55)
- Video: Bartkowski delivers controversial hit to Gionta, fights Foligno (47)
- Could Malkin be the next player to be fined for diving? (43)
- Panthers hold off Penguins for shootout win (42)