Longstanding records in professional sports usually fall into one of two categories: Those that might realistically be broken someday, and those that will linger on the books until the sun explodes due to fundamental changes in the game.
Example: Cy Young's 511 career wins is considered unbreakable in Major League Baseball, and probably is; but his 749 complete games is an unapproachable record due to the fact that baseball teams employ about three dozen guys to each pitch to one batter in relief after the seventh inning. Or so it would seem.
The NHL has its own complete games record: Goalie Glenn Hall, who started 502 consecutive complete games from 1955-1962 for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. With backup goalies and injuries, and this is an untouchable record.
Hall's mark is mentioned in today's summertime diversion from NHL.com: John Kreiser's list of records that should "stand the test of time." They are:
Most points, career: Wayne Gretzky, 2,857
Most goals by a rookie: Teemu Selanne(notes), 76 in 1992-93
Fastest three goals: Bill Mosienko, 21 seconds on March 23, 1952
Most consecutive complete games by a goaltender: Glenn Hall, 502
Most saves in a game: Sam LoPresti, 80
Fastest two goals, both teams: St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins, 2 seconds
Best plus-minus total: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins, plus-124 in 1970-71
The fastest goal records are freak occurrences; the 2-second record was set when Doug Gilmour scored off a faceoff into an empty net, so at the very least maybe it's tied one day. Orr's record looks to be unbreakable; check out the plus/minus leaders for the last 40 years and you'll understand why. Ditto Gretzky's, of course, unless the NHL takes a dramatic swing back towards firewagon hockey; and even then, it would have to be through some fundamental rule change.
The notion that the NHL might artificially juice offense makes us think that Selanne's record could go one day. It might take 2-minute majors and soccer-sized nets, but it's a seasonal record rather than a career mark; it's feasible where breaking other records is inconceivable.
Do you think any of these fall? What about the ones listed on Pro Hockey Fans list of "Non-Gretzky" NHL records, including Jean Beliveau's 17 Stanley Cups (nope), Doug Jarvis's 964 consecutive games played (maybe) and Daryl Sittler's 10 points in a game (this one is entirely dependent on a Dan Cloutier(notes) comeback).
For more NHL record chatter, check out NHL Digest's argument for an underrated Brett Hull goals record; The Great One putting over Martin Brodeur's wins record as unbreakable; and David Amber's Top 10 NHL milestones and records for ESPN in 2007, who believes Scotty Bowman's career coaching wins record (1,244) is "likely" to be broken.