Question about Gordie Howe

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by M00se, Aug 7, 2005.

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  1. M00se

    M00se Registered User

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    This is something that I've wondered for awhile now, but have just never asked. How good was Gordie Howe? Was he really a super star or was he a star who just played a long time? I've read the stats I know what they say but I'm wondering what people who saw him play have to say.
     
  2. temporary pencil

    temporary pencil Registered User

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    Think a player that is a really good skater, has the best shot in the league, is the best passer in the league, one of the best defensive players in the league, one of the best hitters in the league, an inspirational leader, and who can fight every now and then.

    And think a player that can be like that for decades.
     
  3. M00se

    M00se Registered User

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    Wow!! I never would have imagined that. Thanks for the info.
     
  4. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    Not to nitpick, but Geoffrion and Hull both had better shots.
     
  5. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    My dad said he never looked other worldly like Gretz or Orr, but he was always considered one of the best. Much like a guy like Bourque or Messier. Just a top player for a very long time, but never far and away the best.
     
  6. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    You should talk to Bobby Baun about that. His view is that Howe had the heaviest shot he ever saw and Hull and Boom Boom were playing at that time.

    Exhibit #1 - April 23, 1964 -Baun's broken leg during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals from a Howe slapshot. the famous overtime goal on a broken leg. I had the pleasure of spending a few days with Baun at Hockely Valley Resort two summers back and we talked a lot of hockey. he gave me chapter and verse on the broken leg (actualy today it would have been referred to as high ankle break.

    Howe was in the Top 5 in NHL scorers for 20 straight seasons - that is phenomenal. Also when the top players in the NHL were averaging 25 minutes a game, during his prime Howe would play 45 minutes a game and was usually double shifted.

    Howe was among the top 10 scorers in the NHL in 1969-70, but arthritis in his left wrist finally forced him to retire after the 1970-71 season, his 25th in the league. He would have his wrist operated on a couple of years later in an experimental procedure and return to the WHA where scored 100 points in 1973-74 and was the league MVP. He would score 102 points in the 1975-76 WHA season.

    Howe was selected to 21 NHL All-Star squads, 12 times to the First Team. Six times he led the NHL in scoring to capture the Art Ross Trophy and six times he won the Hart as the league's most valuable player. His Detroit teams won the Stanley Cup four times.

    Plus he was a fearsome fighter who was seldom challenged after his fist few years in the league. in his first game at the Forum as a rookie he got in a shoving match with Rocket Richard - and knocked hiom out with one punch. How he rearranged the face of the NHL's self-promtoed toghest guy, Leapin Louie Fontinato of the Rangers is the stuff of legend. One of the linesmen at the game who watched it described it as sounding like Howe pounding on a side of beef.

    He played in 5 decades (1940 to 1980) in the NHL and in his last season in Hartford after the NHL/WHA merger at age 51 he played all 80 games of the 1979-80 NHL season. He tallied 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points while posting a +9 +/- rating. Oh and being Gordie he also tossed in 42 PIM's.

    I take Gordie over Lemieux and it is not even close IMHO.
     
  7. ClassicHockey

    ClassicHockey Registered User

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    I don't think Howe had a harder shot than Hull, Geoffrion, Mahovlich etc. and I don't remember seeing Howe use the full slapshot like those players did. But according to goalies in the 60's, Howe had a 'heavy' shot. Terry Sawchuk explained that once but I don't remember the differences between a hard shot and an heavy shot. Maybe one stung more than the other.

    I also want to comment on the Howe-Richard fight. I think the Howe knocking out Richard with one punch is more myth than fact. I have not seen or read or talked to anyone that can verify that. The one fight they did have was explained to me in detail by Red Kelly who was on the ice that night. Howe & Richard went into the corner and bumped and were about to fight when referee King Clancy yelled to his linesmen to 'let them go'. So Howe and Richard traded punches with no clear victor. Richard threw the last punch but missed and slipped and fell to the ice. Sid Abel of the Wings, bent down and told Rocket that he had met his match and Richard answered by a punch right to Abel's face breaking his nose.

    Howe's fighting reputation was mainly made on that Fontinato bout and there is some dispute that the fight was as one-sided as it appeared. In a famous photo in Life Magazine, Fontinato's nose was pushed all over his face. Howe won that fight on one surprise punch and then Fontinato was blinded. Howe kept punching but Fontinato still got his licks in.

    Until Howe played in the WHA and became a protective father on the ice to Mark & Marty, he did not have a big fight in the NHL after the Fontinato fight. Orland Kurtenbach challenged Howe but Gordie would not drop his stick.

    Early in his career, Howe did not fare all that well as his reputation would suggest. He fought more often but fought smaller guys like Howie Meeker and Gus Mortson and he was clobbered in a fight against Bill Juzda of the Leafs.

    Howe's reputation of an elbow from behind or a carver with his stick gave him more room that other players. But he was a great player who dominated in his prime.


     
  8. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Gordie was absolutely amazing. The man DOMINATED the NHL for 20 years, that is why he is so legendary. He didn't just play for a long time, he DOMINATED for a long time.

    He is the second greatest player of all time to Gretzky.
     
  9. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    One of the nicest things about that season was that it gave the fans in every arena one last chance to see him and show their appreciation. IIRC, he scored a goal against Toronto in Maple Leaf Gardens that year and the Toronto fans gave him a long standing ovation. How often do you see that for a visiting player?

    Slightly off-topic, but that`s one reason I don`t like this new scheduling format where teams will only visit teams from the opposing conference once every three years. Every team should visit every arena at least once every season.
     
  10. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    I think I will go with the Hockey Hall of Fame on this one. The write-up on the Howe/Richard fight says:

     
  11. revolverjgw

    revolverjgw Registered User

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    How good was he in 79-80, for those that remember? Very respectable offensive numbers (especially since I read somewhere here that he was only getting 10 minutes of icetime a game), but was he still rugged and somewhat complete, or was he a perimeter player? Did he get ''special treatment''?
     
  12. ClassicHockey

    ClassicHockey Registered User

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    With all due respect to the HHOF, the summary and write-up for that first game Howe played in Montreal, has nothing about an incident between those two. There were only 4 penalties in the game: Reardon, Jackson, Lindsay & Bouchard.

    You can check all the summaries for the whole season and you won't find any evidence that it happened. The HHOF just repeated the same myth. I had heard it before on another post but that version had it happening in Detroit.


     
  13. ClassicHockey

    ClassicHockey Registered User

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    I'm trying to upload the summary and write-up.
     
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