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Which NHL record is least likely to be broken?

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TSN.ca Staff
12/21/2009 10:11:57 PM
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When it comes to the most unbreakable player records in sports, there are several that can be cemented to the top of any list.

In baseball, Cy Young's 511 victories is often considered the safest record in all of sports. Often mentioned in the same breath are Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, and Ty Cobb's .367 career batting average. Nolan Ryan threw seven no-hitters, while Pete Rose retired with 4,256 career hits. In basketball, Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game has never been truly approached. In golf, Byron Nelson won 11 straight tournaments in 1945.

For decades, Terry Sawchuk's NHL-record of 103 shutouts was thought to be as unattainable as those just mentioned. The long-time Detroit Red Wings goalie compiled his total between 1949-70, and his record stood untouched for decades. Even 10 years ago, he still had twice as many shutouts as the next highest active player (Ed Belfour, 49 at the end of the 1999-2000 season).

So the fact that New Jersey's Martin Brodeur has now surpassed Sawchuk's record is a remarkable achievement. The 37-year old has already captured the top spot on the all-time list for wins and most games played.

So with the fall of one of hockey's most hallowed records, the question arises: Which of hockey's remaining marks are the most unbreakable?

In many cases, the answer begins and ends with Wayne Gretzky. The Great One's career mark of 2,857 points is not only nearly 1,000 more than Mark Messier's second-place total of 1,887, but it's nearly double the amount of that of the highest active player (Mark Recchi, 1,459).

Gretzky's 1981-82 single-season record for goals (92), and 1985-86 records for assists (163) and points (215) are also safe. So too are his tallies of 50 goals in 39 games (1981-82), and his points-per game average of 2.77 (1983-84).

Doug Jarvis' NHL ironman record of 964 consecutive games played also figures to remain untouched. And Teemu Selanne's rookie record of 76 goals from the 1992-93 campaign is an unlikely target for any of today's freshmen.

While Brodeur will eventually retire as the owner of most of his position's most prestigious records, there is one that even he - and no other goaltender for that matter - will ever likely attain. Glenn Hall played 502 consecutive, complete games for Detroit and Chicago between 1955-62. In today's era where goalies rarely play as many as 70 games in an 82-game season, Hall's mark figures to remain unbreakable for decades to come.

Wayne Gretzky - Edmonton Oilers (Photo: Steve Babineau/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Steve Babineau/Getty Images)
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