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No. 9 celebrates early birthday

Wings, NHL honor Gordie Howe, who turns 80 on Monday

Sunday, 03.30.2008 / 4:44 PM ET / News
By Kevin Fitzhenry  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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No. 9 celebrates early birthday
DETROIT – Asked about his NHL longevity, Mr. Hockey paused to reflect.

“I think you stay awake some nights and think, ‘How the heck did it ever happen?’ ” Gordie Howe said. “I think it was my love for the game.”

One day before he turns 80-years-old, Mr. Hockey was honored in a special pre-game ceremony at center ice prior to the Red Wings’ game against the Nashville Predators on Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

Howe was greeted by a standing ovation as Jim Gregory, NHL senior vice president presented with a framed jersey, displaying his rookie number (17) and the official score sheet from his first NHL game – in which he scored his first NHL goal. 

“Fans are not dummies, and Detroit has really good, smart fans; they saw the way I reacted,” Howe said. “I told my son, Marty, ‘You have to respect the people when you play; they pay your salary and you have to respect the management and go play your buns off.”
 
Wings general manager Ken Holland presented Howe with a newly updated Red Wings varsity jacket, commemorating the jacket he received when he signed with the Red Wings back in October 1946.

Howe recorded 46 points in his last season in the NHL in 1980 -- at the age of 52 -- with the Hartford Whalers.

“They left my fanny on the bench too long,” Howe joked. “But I felt really good there in mid-season.”

When he retired, Howe owned the NHL career marks for games played (1,767), goals (801), assists (1,049), and points (1,850).

Minutes after the presentation, National Anthem singer Karen Newman, along with the fans, serenaded Howe with a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

A special birthday cake -- in the shape of a white No. 9 -- was presented, the likes of which have not been seen at Joe Louis Arena.
 
“The cake measures seven-feet long, three-feet wide,” said chef Mike Berend. “It is actually composed of 27 individual sheet cakes put together. It was made with a case of eggs (about 10 dozen), 100 pounds of flour and 50 pounds of sugar. This is the largest cake I’ve had to make in 14 years of working here.”
The cake was shared with Howe as well as 1,200 fans in the Olympia Club and on the suite level.
 
Throughout the game, fans had the opportunity to view special birthday wishes from former hockey greats and celebrities, including CBC personalities Ron MacLean and Don Cherry, San Jose’s Jeremy Roenick, and ESPN’s John Buccigross and Barry Melrose.
 

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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 50 17 18 23 35
H. Zetterberg 51 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 50 14 16 -3 30
G. Nyquist 51 14 13 -4 27
J. Abdelkader 51 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 36 6 18 10 24
M. Green 45 3 17 -8 20
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
D. DeKeyser 47 6 8 10 14
R. Sheahan 50 7 6 -15 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 18 10 4 .931 2.06
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89