DKM Hockey Podcast

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meet Mike Gartner

Who?  Is this another obscure player the Dweebs at Distinct Kicking Motion want to gush over.  Well, sort of.  If you consider a 700 goal scorer in the NHL an obscure player than sure.  Mike Gartner is the best the hockey player you've probably never heard of.

Like we said, 700 goal scorer.  Mike Gartner is likely the reason you've never been able to name all six members of the NHL's 700 club.  Although, if you're able to rattle off Marcel Dionne's name, you should know Mike Gartner. (Gretzky, Howe, Hull, Dionne, Esposito, Gartner)

The 700 goals in itself is impressive.  I really don't see this club being added to soon.  Jagr and Selanne are within 40 goals, but are both 40 years old.  Messier, Yzerman, and Lemieux are all within 10 goals of the elite club, and the three of them should have probably "Lebronned Up" for one season to reach that mark.  These names alone should put into perspective the category of player Mike Gartner is.

Of course to reach this milestone you have to have played a considersiderable number of seasons and consistently produce.  This, of many things, is where Gartner's mark is certainly made.  Gartner played in 19 seasons and retired at 38.  The biggest loser of the 94-95 lockout was Mike Gartner.  Mike Gartner holds the record of most consectutive 30 goal season of 15, and the record of the most 30 goal seasons with 17.  Guess what year his streak ended?  94-95 where he amassed 12 goals in thirty games for the TML.

Winn Well, for when your folks couldn't afford Cooper.

Gartner was like the Hank Aaron of Hockey, so to speak.  Not once did he lead the league in goals or points.  Only once did he score 50 goals.  Only twice did he score less than 30 goals in a season, the lockout shortened season, and his final season only skating in 60 games.  He played on five different teams and was traded at the deadline three times.  Those things tend to affect your ability to consistently score, but not Mike Gartner.  We've spent a lot of time talking about his goals, but that was only one dimension of his game.

Speed.  Mike Gartner was FAST.  Mike Gartner was old and fast. Noted for his speed his entire career, he held onto his speed long into his career.  In 1996, at the tender age of 36, he set the fastest skater record at the NHL All-Star Skills competition with a single lap time of 13.386 seconds.  A record that was finally broken by a tenth of a second a couple months ago.  Gartner did this in an era when skates still weighed 5 pounds a piece and only flashy rookies like Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya wore those new fangled carbon fiber outsoles.  Mike Gartner is the poster child for "You can't have full extention without full recovery."  That's a power skating thing in case your confused.

But, most notable was his stache.  Now, Lanny McDonald has the best mustache of all time.  Chuck Norris has his beard because Lanny McDonald's mustache said he could have it.  However, more fashionably was Mike Gartners's clever little lip fuzz.  It was a staple during his career with the Capitals and Rangers.  It was the gentleman-cowboy hockey players stache.  It evoked images of rugged, swift, and sexy.  Upon arrival in Toronto, when ESPN2 started broadcasting NHL games, Gartner's stache was gone.  Few new fans would know him for his stache.  His number "11" is retired with the Capitals and the banner that hangs from the rafters bears his number and likeness while rocking the stache.

Part of the NHL's elite "Glorious Mustache Club."

Mike Gartner's greatness is not without it's obsure facts.  His first season as a professional was the the WHA's Cincinnati Sting as a teenage rookie.  Yep, despite Ohio's best efforts, a superstar began their career here.  Mike Gartner also shared a dressing room in Cincinnati with another teenage rookie, Mark Messier. 

Um, uh.  Wow. Children, Loin Cloths, jock straps, beer, grab ass. Thanks Messier.  Wait, is that Gary Coleman??

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