5 Wayne Gretzky records that will never be broken
Arguably the greatest player in NHL history turned 55 on Tuesday.
Wayne Gretzky holds or shares an astounding 61 NHL records, many of which have no chance of ever being broken.
League scoring is down to 2.63 goals per game compared to the 4.01 clip seen in 1981-82, and the NHL's average goals against average (2.44) has improved by more than a full goal compared to any season in the 1980s.
The league is different now, but even if scoring was as high and goaltending was as average as it was in his era, most of Gretzky's benchmarks would undoubtedly remain untouched.
Here are five of The Great One's records that no other player will ever surpass:
50 goals in 39 games
The milestone Gretzky hit in 1981 was arguably the greatest single-season achievement in NHL history.
Only two players - Maurice "Rocket" Richard and Mike Bossy - had ever scored 50 goals in 50 games, but Gretzky did it in 11 fewer contests, and reached the mark with a memorable empty-netter in a 7-5 Edmonton Oilers victory over the Philadelphia Flyers:
92 goals in a season
The 1981-82 campaign was also memorable for another reason.
Gretzky, then just 21-years-old, broke Phil Esposito's record of 76 goals in a single season, and finished with 92 over the 80-game schedule.
"It was a thrill to get 92 goals, but in some ways, I thought I let myself down by not getting 100," he said 20 years later.
Only Brett Hull (86 goals in 1990-91), Mario Lemieux (85 in 1988-89), and Teemu Selanne (76 in 1992-93) have come close to Gretzky's single-season mark; Alex Ovechkin (65 in 2007-08) is the only player to get within 27 goals of the record in the last two decades.
2,857 career points
Gretzky's scoring prowess was unrivaled, but so was his consistency.
He notched at least 100 points in 15 of his 20 seasons, and registered at least 200 points four times.
The Great One needed only 1,487 games to reach 2,857 career points, and no one has come remotely close since.
12 consecutive 40-goal seasons
Gretzky scored at least 40 goals in every season from his rookie year in 1978-79 to the 1990-91 campaign - a span of 13 seasons.
Twelve of those seasons came in the NHL, and his first came while the Oilers were still in the World Hockey Association.
He scored more than 50 goals nine times in that span, and potted more than 60 goals five times.
Ovechkin has seven seasons of more than 40 goals, but even if you remove the 2012-13 lockout, they didn't come consecutively.
51 consecutive games with at least a point
From opening night on Oct. 5, 1983 to Jan. 28, 1984, The Great One tallied at least one point in the Oilers' first 51 games.
He averaged three points per game during the streak, and was so dominant in that stretch that he could have sat out the rest of the season and still won the scoring title with 153 points.
Gretzky's exploits are well documented, but even budding superstars like Connor McDavid and current stars like Ovechkin and Jagr have very little hope of breaking these records.