One of Mark Messier’s finest achievements came on this day in 1990.
Named the Hart Trophy winner, Messier was the first player not named Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux to win the trophy since 1979 when Bryan Trottier won.
With all due respect to Lemieux, Gretzky did win nine of the 10 trophies handed out between 1979 and 1990.
Messier had a tremendous 1989-90 campaign posting the best offensive numbers of his career. In 79 games, he scored 45 goals and 129 points leading the Oilers to a Stanley Cup championship.
It was Edmonton’s second season post-Gretzky and it was Messier’s chance to emerge from the shadow of 99.
“He accepted his role,” said Oilers coach John Muckler. “All the responsibility was dumped in his lap when Wayne left. He had to grow with that responsibility. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. Some people couldn’t do it.”
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