- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2001

The Washington Capitals achieved another milestone yesterday when a player who spent the majority of his NHL career with the club was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Mike Gartner, the right wing with a slap shot that could be terrifyingly hard and who still holds the team record for goals (397) and points (789), was elected in his first year of eligibility. Passed over was Caps defenseman Rod Langway, also in his first year of eligibility.
Elected in the builder category was Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Craig Patrick, whose father, Lynn, and grandfather, Lester, also are in the shrine. Patrick, a Cap briefly for parts of three seasons, was honored for his long involvement in U.S. Olympic programs, as well as his association with Stanley Cup champions with the Penguins.
"Getting the phone call from Jim Gregory [chairman of the Hall of Fame selection committee], who I have known for the past 25 years, was particularly gratifying," Gartner said. "I strove for consistency in all aspects of my life and am proud to be recognized over my career as being a player that produced for both my teammates and our fans."
Gartner was thought to be something of a long shot because he never played on a championship team, but his numbers spoke volumes: 708 goals and 1,335 points in 1,432 games. Only four others in NHL history scored more goals in their careers than Gartner, who now works for the NHL Players Association in Toronto.
"You talk about consistency, he had 17 30-goal seasons, and 15 of them were consecutive," said Dick Patrick, president of the Caps and a long-time member of the Hall of Fame selection committee. "Mike was there, every year. He was a guy who came to play every night, an honest person on the ice who gave everything he had, a great person on the ice and a great person off it. He was a role model type of individual, just a wonderful guy. I'm delighted he's in the Hall."
Gartner joined the Cincinnati Stringers in the World Hockey Association as an underage player in 1978 and finished second in rookie of the year voting to Wayne Gretzky. He was drafted fourth overall by the Caps in 1979 and played nearly 10 full seasons with Washington before being traded to Minnesota. He also played for the New York Rangers, Toronto and Phoenix.
His top season in Washington was 1984-85 when he and center Bobby Carpenter were known as the Gold Dust Twins. Carpenter scored 53 goals and Gartner 50 (and 102 points), the last two goals coming in the last game of the season.
Why the Caps traded a future Hall of Famer (getting Dino Ciccarelli, another possible future inductee, in return) depends on to whom you listen. One club official at the time said Gartner was losing a step (he later won the league's fastest-man competition twice and was runner-up another year); another said it was because his shooting patterns were becoming too predictable (he scored 311 goals after departing). It also was suggested that the team was trying to find someone to better the right wing's playoff scoring production (one goal every three games vs. one every other game in the regular season).

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