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01-19-2013, 06:50 PM
  #2
VanIslander
17/07/2014 ATD RIP
 
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Gordie Howe was top-5 in NHL scoring for 20 consecutive seasons and was heralded as the strongest physically, not to mention his defensive abilities, discipline and dominance whenever on the ice in all game situations, including significant penalty kill time. Throughout his career he was the fiercest on the ice but the most gentlemanly off the ice. He was the model of a hockey god.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty Bowman
I pick Gordie as my #1 all-time player. He played the longest. He was the toughest player of his era. He was the best offensive player and defensively he was used in all situations. He could play center, right wing, and defense. He could shoot right and he could shoot left. If you could make a mold for a hockey player it would be him. I never thought there was another player close to him."
Quote:
“When I think about players, I consider three ingredients: the head, heart and the feet,” Bowman said. “Some players don’t have any of those, and some players have one or two. But Gordie had all three in high dimensions.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Kram, Sports Illustrated, 1967
Despite an even temperament and a real distaste for combat, there is a part of Howe that is calculatingly and primitively savage. He is a punishing artist with a hockey stick, slashing, spearing, tripping and high-sticking his way to a comparative degree of solitude on the ice."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
In 1957, XXXX knocked Howe down with vicious intent. Howe had to be helped to the bench. 10 seasons later in 1967, XXXX(the same player) was playing for Oakland and was defending Howe on a one-on-one rush. Howe took a shot and the follow through of the stick caught XXXX in the throat. XXXX was down on the ice bleeding. Howe mercilessly stood over him and said "Now we're even."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Ronberg, Sports Illustrated, 1968
The aura of health is obvious even to those in the stands, but what they go to see is Howe the goal scorer, flicking his huge wrists with a silken strength, a mongoose quickness. Chicago's XXXXX is famous for a slap shot that has been timed at 118.3 mph. Howe's wrist shot—he doesn't waste time winding up—sizzles in at 114.2 mph. It is the game's most accurate shot, and Howe, the only truly ambidextrous NHL player, can score with equal facility from either side of his body. He uses a 21-ounce stick of Canadian ash with only a slight bend in the blade and an extremely stiff handle. "Give Gordie a stick with an ordinary handle," says Trainer Lefty Wilson, "and he'll break it like a toothpick. He is so strong that when he shoots, that handle bends like a banana."

"Nobody could take better care of himself than Gordie does," says Oakland's XXXXXXX, once a Red Wing roommate of Howe's. "He doesn't smoke, and he won't drink anything stronger than beer. He knows exactly what his body needs and he makes sure it gets it. For Gordie it's always the same: go to bed, get up for the team meeting at noon, eat at 2 o'clock, take a walk, then back to bed until time for the bus to the game."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Lindsay
There are many good players in this league, some truly great ones. In thirteen years, I’ve managed to play against all of them at one time or another. Why then do I pick Gordie as the top?

Well, let me put it this way. In my opinion, Gordie Howe just does things so much better than any other player. On offense, there are few who can come close to him, let alone surpass him. That big guy can do more things with a stick and puck than any man I’ve ever seen. And that shot of his! I’ll tell you, he gets that thing away faster than most people can blink their eyes.

He’s as great a playmaker as he is a scorer, and he’s the second highest scorer in hockey history. Defensively, he’s top too. With that long skating stride of his and his long reach, Gord’s a pretty hard man to get around. He can check with the best of them and his covers don’t score many goals, when he’s on the ice.

Just name me one other team which, like the Red Wings, uses its number one star to kill penalties. Our coach, Jimmy Skinner, often uses Gord in this role, because of his great defensive ability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Howe didn't just survive, he was dominant - on the scoring lists, in battles in the corners, on game-winning goals and when the year-end awards were handed out. He was a big man, though by modern standards no behemoth, but what set him apart was his incredible strength.

Though other superstars could be deemed somewhat better scorers, tougher fighters or faster skaters, no player has approached Gordie Howe's sustained level of excellence. Incredibly, Gordie finished in the top 5 in NHL scoring for 20 straight seasons. To endure and excel, Howe needed a unique set of qualities, both physical and mental, and the foundations for his astonishing career were laid in him from an early age.
Here he is as a Bantam 14-year-old player:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
In his prime in the 1950s and 1960s he was routinely described by coaches as the smartest player, the finest passer, the best playmaker and the most unstoppable puck carrier in the game. XXXXX, an opponent of Howe back in the early days, understatedly remarked "Gordie plays a funny kind of game; he doesn't let anyone else touch the puck!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Skinner
“Y’know,” said Jimmy, “I can use the big guy anywhere. At center, on either wing or even on defense if need be. In fact, I believe that if I had to use him on defense, he’d be as good as any defenseman in time. But I’ll tell you the most remarkable thing of all about Gordie. Do you know that, as great and all as he is, Howe will come into the dressing room after he’s had a poor game, which isn’t often, and ask me what he was doing wrong out there. Imagine! Me trying to tell a player of Howe’s unquestioned ability what he’s doing wrong.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Allen
Gordie Howe has to be the greatest Detroit Red Wings player of all-time because he is the greatest NHL player of all-time.

There is ample testimony and evidence to support that verdict, starting with the fact that his nickname is Mr. Hockey. Going back to the 1940s, Howe’s name was synonymous with the Red Wings and the game of hockey. Undoubtedly many people in America in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s didn’t know pucks from polka dots, but they could have told you that Gordie Howe was the league’s best player.

Supporting evidence for how remarkable Howe was during his career:

- Won six Hart trophies and six Art Ross trophies.
- Suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling during the 1950-51 playoffs, and then won the NHL scoring championship in 1951-52.
- Registered 103 points in the season when he turned 40 years old.
- Played in 29 All-Star games in 32 seasons of professional hockey.
- Scored his last NHL goal at age 52, now an age when you can have an AARP membership.
- In 1959, Howe fought and defeated New York Rangers forward Lou Fontinato, who was considered the NHL’s top fighter. Howe won the Hart Trophy that season.
- In the 1960s, it was estimated that Howe’s wrist shot was well over 100 mph.
- In 26 NHL seasons, he played almost 97% of his games during his career. From 1961 to 1970, he missed only two games, even though he played a ruthlessly rough style of play.

Howe had special tricks and he used them all. He could shoot with either hand, and he would often switch just to confuse the goalie. He could bank pucks off Olympia Stadium boards and read the caroms like an expert pool player. Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall recalls that Howe would drive the net with his knee out to beat the defenseman, “and he could shoot with one hand if he needed to.”

He was always faster than he looked. “I watched a lot of good skaters try to catch him from behind and never do it,” Hall of Fame defenseman Bill Gadsby said.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Arbour
“It is like a great golfer,” Arbour said. “They swing so nice and easy and they make it seem so simple. You try to duplicate that swing and it’s impossible. No one could do it like Mr. Hockey. No matter what it was, he could do it well, whether it was penalty killing, power play or making passes.”

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