Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press,
Even Wayne Gretzky, considered by many to be the greatest hockey player ever, got the Gordie Howe treatment.
It was the first game they played against each other, in the World Hockey Association, soon after Gretzky turned pro with the Indianapolis Racers in 1978.
"He was 49, 50 the very first time I played against him," Gretzky recalled today at Joe Louis Arena, where he joined Howe's family for a public visitation of the hockey legend who died Friday. "The very first time I played against him, we were in the warm-up, and I was 17 and thought I was pretty cool, skating around in warm-up, and he kept winking at me. The third or fourth shift of the game, I took the puck from him and, before I knew it, this big stick pounded me on the hand, and I thought I broke my thumb. He took the puck and said, 'Don't ever take the puck from me.'
"I go, 'OK.'"
Gretzky thought the winks were welcoming from Howe. Then one of his teammates let him in on a secret: Howe had a blinking problem.
"Well, nobody told me that!" Gretzky said. "I thought he was cheering me on."
The visitation of Gordie Howe at Joe Louis Arena is scheduled from 9:00am ET until 9:00pm today.
You can watch the live stream below and this post will remain at the top of KK today.
from Dave Stubbs of NHL.com,
It's not by accident that the doors of Joe Louis Arena will open at 9 a.m. Tuesday and close at 9 p.m.
Detroit Red Wings icon Gordie Howe's No. 9 sweater is as synonymous with the late legend as his flowing signature, his folksy drawl or his ability to control a game either with silky hands or a sharpened elbow.
For 12 hours on Tuesday, former teammates, opponents, captains of industry, politicians, old friends, longtime fans and curious common folk will stream into the Red Wings home. Based on what was being assembled here Monday morning into the afternoon, they will have a simple, stirring setting to pay their respects to Howe, who died Friday at age 88.
All will arrive at one end of the arena, the ice gone from the cement floor, and walk a red carpet until they reach Mr. Hockey's closed casket at the far blue line. They then will go up through the stands to the concourse level, where they can visit the statues of Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio, and perhaps record a personal memory or vignette that will be archived by the Red Wings, who will stream all 12 hours of the visitation on their website, redwings.nhl.com.
from Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated,
This is a time for mourning and sadness but also for stories, and few figures in the NHL tell those better than executive Brian Burke. Currently the president of hockey operations for the Flames, formerly of Hartford, Vancouver, Anaheim, Toronto and the league’s front office, Burke spoke with SI for an unrelated topic Saturday afternoon and agreed to share some memories about the late Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe.
- “And he’s telling me about growing up on the farm. There’s a great story in his book, about how his dad got him a job about the concrete plant. And the guy told Gordie, ‘Alright move these 50-pound bags of concrete, and stack them over here.’ About 10 minutes later, Gordie came up and said, ‘Alright, what do I do now?’ And the guy said, ‘No, I said stack them all.’ Each guy would struggle with a 50--pound bag of cement. Gordie picked up one in each hand. And if you’ve ever picked up a bag of concrete, it’s impossible to grip it, unless you have a bone-crushing grip. It’s impossible to grab a bag of concrete by the side and carry two at once and that’s what he did.
- Ted Lindsay told me one. Gordie, he blinked like every 10 seconds or so. He’d take a real deep blink, and it was from when he fractured his skull. When you first meet him, you’re like what is this? Then you realize it’s just this little affliction. So he blinked like once every 10 seconds. So Ted Lindsay told me this story, he said they were lining up for a faceoff against Chicago and they dropped the puck and Gordie speared the guy opposite him right in the groin, and they had to carry him off.
“And Teddy said to Gordie, ‘What the hell was that for?’
“Gordie said, ‘He was mocking me, he was blinking at me.’
“And Teddy says, ‘He’s got the same thing you do, you a—h---!’”
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
Not surprisingly, the push is on again. At the very least, Gordie Howe could be remembered otherwise in the major development that will surround Little Ceasar’s Arena. It is set to be known as District Detroit, and it will include five new neighbourhoods that all have names.
It would be easily done to affix Gordie Howe’s name to an office tower or a park or a thoroughfare, but with Joe Louis Arena set to disappear as the only NHL rink that honours and bears the name of a local hero, it just seems wrong to miss the chance to keep it that way in Detroit.
Without a doubt, Little Caesars would be “hailed” if it stepped aside. There’s more than one way to sell a pizza.
more plus some SCF talk...
We lost a true great in Gordie Howe. I had the fortunate pleasure to be with Gordie on a number of occasions...
and with each opportunity, I found him to be a tremendously nice man. We couldn’t help but always have a good time together...
Few athletes are acknowledged as the greatest of their sport; Gordie Howe was and always will be...
They called him Mr. Hockey. I simply call him a legend!
-Jack Nicklaus via his Twitter account where you can view a great picture of the two legends.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Surely it cannot possibly be more than 60 years – and yet it is.
My older brother Jim, who has a far better memory, remembers the score, the fact that the Detroit Red Wings beat his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs and that both “Terrible” Ted Lindsay and Gordie “Elbows” Howe scored.
I was too young. Our father had been given tickets to Maple Leaf Gardens by a buyer who toured the lumber mills of the north in search of good timber. We had driven down, our parents baffled by clover leafs, unused to streetlights, and I recall being wary of the Gardens’ escalators and, after too much pop, terrified by a stainless steel urinal that seemed as long and packed as the arena itself.
But I do remember, vividly, when our father pointed at No. 9 in the Red Wings jersey, a lanky fellow with a dark forelock of hair, and said, “There is the greatest hockey player in the world.”
continued and make sure to watch the video too...
from David Shoalts and Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
For two years in the early 1960s, just before his career ended because of an eye injury, Doug Barkley was Mr. Howe’s roommate on the road with the Detroit Red Wings.
“In that time, I just learned so much – not only about hockey, but how to treat people,” Mr. Barkley said. “He would never turn down anybody for an autograph. It used to be, after the games, we’d get on the bus and there’d be Gordie at the door, signing autographs, and the guys would be yelling at him, ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’ But he would stay until he signed the last one.”...
Rick Dudley, senior vice-president of hockey operations for the Montreal Canadiens, saw both the hard-nosed and humorous sides of Mr. Howe when he ran into him, literally, in the early 1970s, when both men played in the WHA.
“I went to the WHA. The first game we played against Houston, I crossed the blue line and he clipped me with his stick on the forehead,” Mr. Dudley said. “I remember the puck was dumped in [later] and he went back to get it. I ran him. I figured I’ve got to let him know not to do that. From about 20 feet, I ran him and hit him. He bounced off the boards and we both went down. He just kind of looked at me.
“After the game, a lot of reporters came down and asked, ‘Why didn’t you fight him?’ For once in my life, I thought fairly quickly on my feet and said, ‘Well, it seemed like a no-win situation. If I beat him up, then I just beat up a 50-year-old man. If I get the shit kicked out of me, which was quite conceivable, I just got the hell kicked out of me by a 50-year-old man.’
“We played them next a month later and I had made Sports Illustrated for quote of the month for saying that. He tapped me on the shin pads and said, ‘You’re getting a lot of mileage out of me, aren’t you kid?’ That was kind of a thrill.”...
Former NHL player and assistant coach Brent Peterson first met Mr. Howe when they were in the Hartford Whalers organization together and remembers a charity exhibition game in which he played on a line with Gordie and Mark Howe.
“We were playing the police team and this young kid from their team was running all over the place, hitting everybody,” Mr. Peterson recalls. “Gordie yells, ‘Hey son, this is a charity game.’ Gordie let it go for about three minutes and nothing changes. So he jumps over the boards, goes into the corner with this guy, and boom, gives him three elbows, broke his nose. Gordie was 61 years old. As they’re carrying him off the ice, Gordie says, ‘Hold on’ and skates over and says, ‘I tried to tell you kid. I warned you."
via the NHLPA,
“I was very sad to learn today of the passing of my longtime teammate, and friend, Gordie Howe. Gordie really was the greatest hockey player who ever lived. I was fortunate to play with Gordie for 12 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and I’ve known him for over 70 years. He could do it all in the game to help his team, both offensively and defensively. He earned everything that he accomplished on the ice.
“Beyond hockey, Colleen and his family meant everything to him. Gordie was larger than life, and he was someone who I thought would live forever. My wife Joanne and I extend our condolences to Gordie’s children — Cathleen, Mark, Marty and Murray — and his entire family and many friends during this time.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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