A by-the-numbers look at Howe's legacy
|Gordie Howe owned the NHL career marks for games played, goals, assists and points when he retired at age 52.|
Howe owned the NHL career marks for games played, goals, assists and points when he retired at age 52. The scoring marks have been eclipsed; the games played mark is still his. And it's safe to say there will never be another Gordie Howe.
Howe's legend is so immense that his skills as a hockey player are often overshadowed. Here's a look at just a few of his accomplishments.
* Howe won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer six times, the most of anyone in the pre-Wayne Gretzky era (Gretzky had 10; Howe and Mario Lemieux are next with six). The last one came in 1962-63, when he turned 35 (Gretzky won his last scoring title at 33; Lemieux's last one came when he was 31). Howe finished in the top five in the NHL in points an amazing 20 consecutive seasons; counting 1969-70, he had 21 consecutive top-10 finishes.
* He's the only player to score 100 points in a season after turning 40. Howe was third in the NHL with 103 points (44 goals, 59 assists) in 1968-69, reaching triple figures just after he turned 41. It was his only 100-point season in the NHL.
* Howe had a streak of 15 seasons (1955-56 through 1969-70) in which he had 40 or more assists -- no mean feat, considering that he played most of that time in an era when goals were scarce and the schedule was shorter.
* Howe set the Wings' franchise record with five game-winning goals in a month -- he did it in February 1952 and again in January 1958. Henrik Zetterberg matched the record in February 2007, getting five in an eight- game stretch. Johan Franzen has equaled the mark this month, getting his fifth in Tuesday night's 2-1 win against St. Louis.
* Unless Gretzky has a son who becomes an NHL player, Gordie and sons Mark and Marty figure to hold the League mark for most points by a father-son combination for a while. Together, the Howes have 1,000 goals and 1,623 assists for 2,623 points in the NHL; Gretzky's NHL scoring totals are 894-1,963-2,857.
* Howe had a "Gordie Howe hat trick" -- a goal, an assist and a fighting major in the same game -- once in his career. It happened Dec. 22, 1955, in Detroit's 3-2 victory against the Bruins at Boston Garden. Howe assisted on Real Chevrefils' power-play goal at 3:30 of the first period and tied the game at 2-2 with a goal at 18:19 of the second against Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk. The fight came against another Hall of Famer, Boston defenseman Leo Boivin, at 4:37 of the first period.
Author: John Kreiser | NHL.com Columnist