Wednesday, January 13, 2010
On this date in 1990, Joe Mullen of the Calgary Flames score two goals to give him 686 career points, making him the NHL's all-time leading scorer among U. S. born players.
Mullen, one of the best kept secrets in hockey history, attended Boston College and, after finishing college, played for the United States in the 1979 World Championships, scoring seven goals in eight games. Rather than play for the United States in the 1980 Olympics, Mullen turned professional by signing a contract with the St. Louis Blues due to his father's illness and subsequent financial need of the family, causing him to miss out on being a part of the "Miracle on Ice".
St. Louis assigned Mullen to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the CHL, where he was named Rookie of the Year. The following season with the Golden Eagles, he would win the league scoring title.
In 1981-82 Mullen would see 45 games in the NHL and score 59 points. After another partial season in 1982-83, Mullen would stick full time with the Blues and reward them with his first 40 goal season, scoring 41 goals and 85 points. The next season would see another 40 goals and hit 92 points. Inexplicably, St. Louis would trade Mullen halfway through the 1985-86 season, along with Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson for Ed Beers, Charles Bourgeois and Gino Cavallini.
Not breaking stride, Mullen would total a career high 44 goals that season split between the two clubs. He would top that with 47 goals the next season, along with winning the Lady Byng Trophy, and 40 more goals the year after. The Flames would put it all together in 1988-89, as Mullen would score a career high 51 goals, along with 59 assists for a career best 110 points and his second Lady Byng Trophy. Even better, Mullen and the Flames would finish the season by capturing the Stanley Cup.
After another 36 goal season in 1989-90, Mullen would be traded again, this time to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a second round draft pick, but not before scoring two goals against Toronto on this date in 1990 to become the NHL's all-time leading scorer among U. S. born players with 686 points, passing the previous record holder Reed Larson. The timing couldn't have been better for Mullen. Although he would only play in 47 regular season games, his 17 points in 22 games would help the Penguins capture their first Stanley Cup in 1991.
He would return to form with 42 goals in 1991-92 and Pittsburgh would again capture the Stanley Cup.
Two more 70 point seasons would follow before he was limited to 45 games in 1994-95 but did score the 1000th point of his career on February 7th in Pittsburgh, the 42nd player to reach 1000 points and the first American to do so.
He would sign as a free agent with the Boston Bruins for the 1995-96 season and play in 37 games, scoring 8 goals. After the season, Mullen would be named the 1995 winner of the Lester Patrick Trophy.
Mullen would return to Pittsburgh for his final NHL season. With just ten games remaining in the season, Mullen would score the 500th goal of his career, only the 25th player and first American to ever reach that hallowed milestone.
Internationally, despite missing out on the 1980 Olympics, Mullen would suit up for the United States during the 1984, 1987 and 1992 Canada Cup tournaments. After having retired from hockey in 1997, Mullen would return one more time at age 42 to play for the United States in a qualifying tournament for the 1999 World Championships.
Mullen woud be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.
Today's featured jersey is a 1987-88 Calgary Flames Joe Mullen jersey.the same style he wore in 1987-88 when he became the highest scoring American-born player in NHL history.
This jersey features the Calgary 1988 patch worn by the Flames that season in honor of Calgary hosting the Winter Olympics during that hockey season.
With absolutely no highlights dedicated to Joe Mullen on youtube, the best we can offer is the Mullen and the Penguins winning Game 6 to capture the 1991 Stanley Cup, which includes Mullen scoring a pair of the many Penguins goals and assisting on the one by Ron Francis.