Tag: Mark Howe

Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday sees him in his toughest battle


Today is Easter Sunday but it also doubles as NHL legend Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday. With aging comes health concerns, however, and Mr. Hockey has a serious one he’s dealing with.

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports on Howe’s struggles with dementia that will likely keep him out of the public eye from here on out. Gordie’s Hall of Fame son, Mark, highlights how tough it’s been for his father lately.

“All you have to do is make oatmeal for him in the morning, then have a cookie or apple pie or chocolate ice cream before bed, and then he’s happy,” Mark said. “But if it’s not someone that he knows who’s with him, he really struggles.

“He was watching the Wings game the other night, and after two periods he put on his coat and made to leave. He said he was going to see Sid Abel at the end of the street. That’s the first I’d heard of that kind of thing. But that’s the stage he’s at.”

It’s hard to hear stories like this, especially about someone so revered by the public. For what it’s worth, Mark says Gordie is still physically strong but his memory just isn’t at the same level.

Philadelphia to retire Mark Howe’s No. 2 tonight

Mark Howe

With the Detroit Red Wings in town, Philly couldn’t have picked a better night to celebrate the career of Mark Howe.

Howe, who spent 10 seasons as a Flyer and is often regarded as the best defenseman in franchise history, played his final three years in Detroit and now works for the Wings as the director of pro scouting.

As such, there’ll be plenty of familiar faces at Wells Fargo on Tuesday when his No. 2 gets raised to the rafters, joining the likes of No. 1 (Bernie Parent), No. 4 (Barry Ashbee), No. 7 (Bill Barber) and No. 16 (Bobby Clarke).

“It’s a great honor for Howey, well deserved,” Wings coach Mike Babcock told NHL.com. “He was a great Flyer, had an unbelievable career. He’s worked for us for 19 years, started three years as a player. He’s been involved in two really great organizations to finish his career.

“I think he’s proud of that fact, we’re proud of him. We’re honored and thrilled to be sharing it with him tonight.”

Long regarded as one of the NHL’s most underrated blueliners, Howe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011 — something that kickstarted a newfound appreciation of his game. A tremendous two-day defenseman, Howe made the NHL’s first All-Star team three times and put forth one of the greatest statistical seasons ever in 1985-86, finishing with 82 points in 77 games (24G, 58A) while finishing with an amazing plus-85 rating.

How finished was plus-400 for his career, 12th-best all time.

“I was reading about him in the last week when they were gearing up for this night,” Flyers defenseman Matt Carle said. “Some of the statistics he threw up were mind-blowing. It’s a huge honor for him. It’ll be fun for us to be here for it.”

(Image courtesy Flyers.nhl.com)

Does the NHL need more rivalries?


Interesting piece here by the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran in which it’s argued the NHL could use a few more intense rivalries.

The article led off with Hall-of-Fame defenseman Mark Howe recalling his first game against Boston after being traded from Hartford to Philadelphia: “One of the veterans from the Flyers came over and said: ‘You haven’t played in one of our battles with the Bruins before, have you?’ I said: ‘No, I haven’t.’ He said: ‘We’re just telling you, be ready.’”

Wonder how often conversations like those happen anymore.

McGran then addressed the current state of NHL rivalries:

The league tried to exploit the Rangers-Flyers rivalry for its annual Winter Classic. It might have been smarter to have a second Boston-Vancouver game. The Stanley Cup winner and runner-up — who only play each other once a year in the regular season — absolutely hate each other.

The rematch — the Canucks won — had people talking. Why didn’t Roberto Luongo play? There were lots of fights. When a Boston TV station had a Vancouver columnist on the air to talk about why Vancouver players wouldn’t fight, he was sandbagged by an appearance of Bruins tough-guy Shawn Thornton, who countered every point.

That’s not to say Bruins-Canucks is the NHL’s only current rivalry, but it’s sure felt that way at times this season. Other rivalries that come to mind include Bruins-Habs and Canucks-Blackhawks. And what do all three of those have in common? They’ve all been recent playoff matchups.

Two years ago, the most intense rivalry was probably Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, thanks to the Pens and Flyers meeting twice in a row in the postseason, not to mention hailing from the same state. (A third consecutive meeting looked all but assured in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals, until the Habs upset the Pens.)

Of course, rivalries like Montreal-Boston go back a tad longer than a few seasons, as does Montreal-Toronto and Calgary-Edmonton. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a Habs-Leafs postseason series since 1979 and the last Battle of Alberta was 1991.

There’s a reason the NHL tried to realign the league into four regional conferences with the first two rounds of the playoffs being waged within the conference. It’s a simple formula. The more teams see each other in best-of-seven series, the more animosity.

Anyway, living in Vancouver, I get my fill of hate. What about you? Do you wish your team had a more intense rivalry with another team?

Report: Flyers will retire Mark Howe’s jersey

2011 Hockey Hall Of Fame Induction

CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio reports that the Philadelphia Flyers will retire Mark Howe’s No. 2 jersey when the team faces the Detroit Red Wings on March 6. This comes shortly after Flyers chairman Ed Snider essentially said that if Howe was good enough to make the Hockey Hall of Fame, then it only makes sense that his number should be retired.

Howe spent 10 seasons on the Flyers’ blueline, playing well enough that Panaccio deems him the “best two-way defenseman” in franchise history. Howe was nominated for the Norris Trophy times in his career, managing to make a name for himself despite the considerable shadow cast by his father Gordie.

If that report holds true, Howe will join Bernie Parent (No. 1), Barry Ashbee (4), Bill Barber (7) and Bobby Clarke (16) as the only Flyers who have received such an honor.

Video: Why this Hall of Fame class was so special

2011 Hockey Hall Of Fame Induction

This year’s induction class to the Hockey Hall of Fame was one teeming over with talent. With great forwards like Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour, the impeccable goaltending of Ed Belfour, and the defensive prowess as well as the long wait Mark Howe had to get in it’s a special group to behold.

The NHL Overtime crew of Tony Amonte and John MacLean discuss what made each of these guys so special to watch.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!