Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Vartan Kupelian at the Detroit News,
I grew up in Detroit and Highland Park. Going to Red Wings games with my father was a ritual. He was a factory worker, but back then, even blue-collars could afford to sit in the upper deck or buy standing room and sit on the steps. That was a different time, in a lot of ways, but always special because we were privileged to see Howe, the greatest athlete I ever covered, and nothing was an inconvenience.
Howe could hit a baseball a mile. He could hit a golf ball two miles. And if somebody dared challenge him on the ice, he could throw that poor guy unfortunate enough to be wearing an opposing jersey into the cheap seats. His nickname among teammates was “Power.”
I was sitting in a Greek mythology class at Wayne State years ago when the lecturer began talking about contemporary heroic figures, those among us who the Greeks would turn into myths. He surveyed the class, looking for responses. There were none. Disappointed, the professor continued.
“Think about it,” he said. “Somebody with super-human strength. A powerful physique. Someone who combines a menacing appearance with a kind, gentle soul.”
Still, no response from the befuddled students. Exasperated, the professor said, “Isn’t anybody here a hockey fan? Doesn’t anybody here know about Gordie Howe.”
So maybe it is only fortuitous circumstance that both Ali and Howe died in the same week, and the other bridges we want to fashion between the two men are of our own creation. Giants do not normally die in tandem (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams notwithstanding), and while these two are connected more in the time of their departures than anything else, they defined their places in history in ways that their contemporaries and acolytes can only imagine in wonder and awe. Howe’s funeral will be covered in Canada as Ali’s was here, and his influence upon his nation will endure in its way as Ali’s will here.
-Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea where you can read more on this topic.
Ron MacLean takes us through the career timeline of Gordie Howe, and the 26-year longevity that helped cement his legendary status.
Read the CBC obituary on Gordie Howe here.
Stephen Brunt with the feature.
post will remain at the top of KK for a few days in memory of Gordie Howe
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
There was only one Gordie Howe, and there will never be another like him.
That hasn’t stopped National Hockey League scouts and general managers from scouring the junior leagues ever since he began dominating his sport, searching for that impossible-to-find combination of physical might, speed, competitive fire, scoring prowess, mean streak and character that defined the quintessential “power forward” … long before the phrase was coined.
And to be sure, what Howe did on the ice — and the still-staggering total of five decades he spanned while doing it — are the greatest parts of his legacy.
For those who grew up watching him play, or listening to his feats described on radio, no one ever played what coaches now commonly call “the 200-foot game” better than the larger-than-life product of tiny Floral, Sask., who passed away Friday morning at his son Murray’s home in Ohio, at age 88, after a typically determined rebound from a series of strokes two years ago.
But there were other pieces of Mr. Hockey’s life that continue to resonate, even now.
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
Sure, vengeance might be His (Romans 12:19), but as the Creator vets His newest recruit—a powerful, stooped-shouldered man with an easy smile and old-fashioned values forged in Depression-era Saskatchewan—He would be well-advised to skim the Book of Gordie. Verse 1: Do not mess with Gordie Howe. Howe, who died on Friday at age 88, had a memory as long as his unparalleled career, which touched five decades and included seven MVP awards in two leagues. Heaven might be a swell place, full of cherubim and gaping five-holes, but if Mr. Hockey suspects that he was taken from us too soon, that he could have gotten yet another day out of his rich life ... well, the Supreme Being should start skating with his head up, you know?
Howe has eternity to fix somebody’s wagon, not just the mere decade he needed to settle an old score with Bobby Baun. In the 1957–58 season, Baun, a rugged Maple Leafs defenseman, nailed Howe, who had been cutting into the middle to take a shot, with a seismic check. Ten seasons later, Baun was earning a living with the expansion Oakland Seals when Howe again cut to the middle. Fool Gordie once, shame on you. Fool Gordie twice, a Zamboni might be scraping up your teeth. This time Howe released his shot and held his follow-through long enough for his stick blade to carve g.h. in Baun’s throat. As a supine Baun gasped for breath, the Red Wings’ star straddled him and growled, “Now we’re even, you s.o.b.”
Rest in peace my one and only sports idol.
The big guy meets The Big Guy.
added 9:32am, Legends of Hockey feature on Gordie Howe is below...
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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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