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02-12-2011, 12:41 PM
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After much deliberation, the Philadelphia Firebirds select the anchor of their 2nd pairing, a guy who is being taken about 40 spots below where he is usually selected, D Harry Howell.

6'1", 195lbs.
1,411 career NHL games(most by a defenseman at time of retirement)
1x 1st-Team NHL All Star
7x NHL All Star Game Participant(all merit based)
5th Hart Trophy Voting(66-67)
6x Top 10 Norris Trophy voting(1, 5, 6, 6, 9, 9)
2x Top 11 All Star Selection(6, 11)
12x Top 15 Goals Among Defensemen(4, 4, 6, 6, 7, 7, 9, 9, 11, 13, 13, 13)
9x Top 15 Assists Among Defensemen(3, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 11, 14)
9x Top 15 Points Among Defensemen(3, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 12, 13, 14)
Hockey Hall of Fame Member
Captain New York Rangers, 1955-1957
Number retired by Rangers

Henry Vernon Howell, known by everybody as Harry, had played more games than any defenseman in major-league hockey history by the time he retired, though he never won the Stanley Cup. Howell played in a total of 1,581 contests, 1,411 in the NHL and 170 in the World Hockey Association. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1932, Howell was known as a dedicated, dependable player on the ice and a classy guy off it.

Howell started playing junior hockey for the Guelph Biltmores and his professional career began in 1952 with the New York Rangers. He quickly gained a reputation as a durable, dependable "iron man" and, amazingly, missed only 17 games in his first 16 seasons as a Ranger. Howell's best season was in 1966-67 when he won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman.

Here is an interesting trivia question. Who was the last player in to win the Norris Trophy as best defenseman before the arrival and subsequent dominance of the trophy by Bobby Orr?

The answer: Harry Howell.

It could be said that Howell was the last defensive defenseman to win the trophy, as the award took on a different definition after Bobby Orr.

Harry Howell played 24 NHL seasons and three more in the WHA. When he retired no defenseman had played more big league games than the ironman Howell.

Ironman would be an appropriate nickname for the man who never played for a Stanley Cup winner. In his first 16 NHL seasons he missed an amazingly minuscule total of just 17 games.

Although not an overly aggressive rearguard he used his hockey sense to become an extremely effective defensive player. He was quite the unsung hero, buried with the largely unsuccessful Rangers. It was rare that he was rightfully recognized as one of hockey's top players. In fact it was not until 1966-67, his 15th year in the league, that he was honored with the Norris trophy as the league's best defenseman and with all star status.

Although not regarded as an offensive threat by today's standards, Howell was a slick passer who always made the safe play. He was a reliable work horse who could always be counted on to bring his steady game every night of the week. A master of the poke check, his understated brilliance was certainly appreciated by his coaches and teammates, especially his goaltenders. He always was able to steer oncoming attackers to the boards and away from scoring spots.

Howell was all too happy to play in the shadows of more popular defense partners. His most notable co-workers were the xxx, a Manhattan fan favorite, and Doug Harvey, to that time the greatest defenseman of all.

“They don’t come much better than Harry," Harvey said soon after joining the Rangers.

"The thing that makes him the great hockey player he is," Emile Francis once said "is that the quality of his game seldom varies. Some defensemen, they look like all-stars one night, or maybe for three games in a row, and then they tail off. But Harry, he's like the Rock of Gibraltar."

Francis added "Hockey is a game of mistakes, and Harry doesn't make many of them."

Longtime star for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. A stalwart...

The savvy veteran earned his spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame by combining consistency with defensive excellence over a prolonged sand storied career.

Blueliner par excellence, Harry Howell...

Howell established himself as one of the league's best defensive defensemen...

No one in Rangers history has worn the Blueshirt as many times as Harry Howell. Not many have worn it as well, either. For 17 seasons and 1,160 games, Howell was Mr. Reliable on the Rangers' blueline.

Howell continued to provide the Rangers with solid play on the blueline, nothing flashy, but consistent and productive.

Unlike most players, Howell seemed to get better with age.\

Harry was great. All the young defenseman I had, xxx, xxx, xxx, I always put them with Harry Howell. He was not only a teammate, he was like a coach on the ice with them.

Howell kept himself in excellent shape. Rookie Tony Featherstone remembered that the 38-year-old Howell "had a physique that was just amazing. He was the fittest guy I ever met. He was a solid guy, a tough guy."

"He was a great veteran. I always wondered what was so great about him, but you had to play with him to see what a great skater he was. He had class. We all looked up to him. He was a smooth skater and a great guy on and off the ice.

"They don't come any better than him. He could cover the ice and cut the time in half." That was Harry Howell: classy, consistent, and a leader.

Harry Howell, one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL...

Harry Howell, one of the best defensemen in the league...

Harry Howell, a pretty underrated defenseman in other years, is gaining recognition this season because he has developed into a scorer.

That year I scored more goals than I ever had before. Part of the reason was that I was playing the point on the power play...

This is the Year of the Cheer for Harry Howell, rugged defenceman with New York Rangers of the National Hockey League.

Gadsby is a good offensive defenseman, Muzz said. "But the key man on our defense is Harry Howell. He's the solid guy.

Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 02-13-2011 at 10:19 AM.
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