Cam Tucker

Howe visitation draws thousands, Gretzky calls on NHL to retire No. 9


Hockey dignitaries Wayne Gretzky and Steve Yzerman shared fond memories of Gordie Howe. And thousands of fans lined up inside Joe Louis Arena to pay their respects to the legend known as Mr. Hockey.

Howe passed away at the age of 88, leading to tributes from so many from throughout the hockey world. Howe played 25 of his 26 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, and his family had encouraged fans to attend his public visitation Tuesday.

“Look at them,” said Red Wings GM Ken Holland of the crowd, as per the Detroit Free Press. “How many of those people never saw Gordie play one time? Not one time, because they’re not old enough. But there was a strong connection because they know that he was not only a great ambassador for the Detroit Red Wings but for the sport of hockey overall.”

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Gretzky and Howe have been connected since Gretzky was just a young kid.

Their bond was initially captured in the famous photograph where Howe has the blade of a hockey stick playfully hooked around Gretzky’s neck, both smiling at that moment.

Only a few years later, Gretzky was playing against Howe. Two legends, at opposite ends of their playing careers, on the ice together.

“He was 49, 50 the very first time I played against him,” said Gretzky, as per the Detroit Free Press.

“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.'”

Howe played professional hockey until the age of 52, winning the Stanley Cup four times, the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer six times and the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player another six times.

Gretzky’s No. 99 is the only number retired throughout the entire NHL.

But The Great One would also have the NHL retire Howe’s No. 9 — if the decision was his.

“I’m pretty biased. If I had my way, I would do it,” Gretzky told reporters, when asked if the NHL should consider retiring Howe’s No. 9.

“That’s for the league. I’m not involved with the league right now. But I’m sure — listen, whatever they choose to do is going to be very special because Gordie deserves something really special and unique.”

“Simply, he’s just a really nice man,” said Steve Yzerman, who played his entire NHL career — 1,514 games from 1983 to 2006 — with the Red Wings.

“I think the first time I actually met him was just down the hall, walking in when I was drafted, my first year, literally walking down to the locker room. Small group of people, which included Gordie, walking by and he just walked up, introduced himself, shook my hand and, as he does with everyone, took some time to talk, tell a couple of stories when he was 18 years old and from that point on — I mean, just a nice man who was always thoughtful.”

“Gordie was the greatest hockey player of all time, and people had pride in Detroit saying, ‘Yeah, Gordie Howe, the Red Wings, they’re great,'” famed Detroit Tiger and baseball Hall of Famer Al Kaline told

“Not very many people and not very many towns can say they had the greatest in their city, and Gordie Howe was the greatest.”



Howe family encouraging fans to attend public visitation

Gordie Howe
Getty Images
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DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Red Wings and the family of hockey legend Gordie Howe are encouraging fans to attend a public visitation at Joe Louis Arena.

Mark Howe says in a release Monday that his father “always had a special connection with the fans, so it was important to us to allow the public into the funeral service because it’s the way he would have done it.”

Gordie Howe died Friday at the age of 88. He led the Red Wings to four Stanley Cups during his 25 years with the team.

The public visitation is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday. The Howe family will greet the public at the arena. Gordie Howe’s body will lie in state inside the arena bowl.

Sharks’ Hertl says he won’t require surgery for injured right knee

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Specifics about the knee injury that kept Tomas Hertl out of the last four games of the Stanley Cup Final haven’t been revealed, but it appears he won’t have to undergo surgery, according to multiple reports Monday.

The 22-year-old Hertl had been enjoying an impressive post-season performance, playing on a line with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton.

However, he was hurt on a Patric Hornqvist hit late in Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and didn’t play another game in the series.

From CSN Bay Area:

Tomas Hertl doesn’t need surgery on the injured right knee that kept him out of the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final. The 22-year-old, wearing a large brace, limped his way into the dressing room on Monday to speak with the media on team getaway day.

Hertl said that he suffered the injury late in Game 2 of the series in Pittsburgh after a run-in with Patric Hornqvist with approximately five minutes left in the third period.

In 20 post-season games, Hertl scored six goals and had 11 points.

The Sharks were never able to cope with the speed of the Penguins, who had dominant stretches throughout the series before winning the Stanley Cup in six games.

Reports: Randy Carlyle expected to return to Anaheim as Ducks new coach

MONTREAL, CANADA - MARCH 3:  Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Randy Carlyle speaks to the media during a press conference to introduce him at the Bell Centre on March 3, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
AP Photo

Randy Carlyle is returning to coach the Anaheim Ducks, the team he won a Stanley Cup with in 2007, according to two reports Monday evening.

The Ducks have not yet made an official announcement.

Carlyle was into his seventh season as head coach of the Ducks when he was let go in 2011. His second season as bench boss in Anaheim proved to be his most successful, as the Ducks won the Stanley Cup after boasting a 48-20-14 regular season record.

Despite a championship in Anaheim, Carlyle endured plenty of difficult times as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs before he was fired in January, 2015. Sure, he was behind the bench when the Leafs made it back to the playoffs in 2013. But their foray back into the post-season ended with a Game 7 third-period collapse to the Boston Bruins in the opening round.

They never made it back.

From Sportsnet after Carlyle was fired:

Last season the Leafs laid claim to one of the worst defensive efforts in NHL history. The number of shots they allowed rivaled that of expansion teams like the 1973-74 Islanders, the ’74-75 Capitals and the ’92-93 Sharks.

Despite all the off-season discussion of change with new coaches, shifts in systems, and a revamped supporting cast, this year’s Leafs are actually doing worse defensively than they did last season. And Carlyle has now paid the price.

The timing of this news is interesting, after Ryan Kesler recently sounded off on the type of coach he felt the Ducks needed to hire after letting Bruce Boudreau go after a first-round exit.

During the second lockout, Kesler, then a Canucks prospect, had a 30-goal season with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, coached at that time by Carlyle.

“We just need a good bench coach, a coach that does things on the fly and makes changes during the game and not just between periods,” Kesler said earlier this month. “We need a coach that holds everybody accountable — not just certain guys. We need a coach to come in and just be a good motivator and do what a coach does.”

Carlyle has long had a reputation for being a demanding coach. That style seems to have worked against him in the past, including while he was in Anaheim.

Carlyle once told the CBC of his time in Anaheim: “Some of things that took place with our team in Anaheim should have been [dealt with] outside the scrutiny of the media. If I was unhappy with what was happening at practice I stopped the drill and expressed myself in a way in which everybody in the building heard versus keeping it more private between yourself and the players.”


Report: Canucks assistant Gulutzan one of three finalists for Flames coaching job

Glen Gulutzan, Willie Desjardins, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Alex Burrows, Linden Vey
AP Photo

With the Stanley Cup Final now completed, a pair of Western Conference teams appear closer to hiring new head coaches with the draft approaching.

“That’s coming to a conclusion here rather quickly. We’re hopeful to have that buttoned down fairly soon,” said Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving. “We’re down to the short strokes right now.”

According to a report on Monday, Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Glen Gulutzan, who interviewed for the gig in Calgary, is one of three finalists for the Flames coaching position.

Prior to joining the Canucks, Gulutzan was head coach of the Dallas Stars for two seasons.

Related: Two weeks before the draft, still no head coach in Calgary or Anaheim