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Happy Birthday, Gordie!

Howe was a big offense contributor on his birthday

Thursday, 03.31.2011 / 2:41 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Happy Birthday, Gordie!
DETROIT – It will be a quiet evening tonight when the greatest player whoever laced up a pair of skates celebrates his birthday; he’ll go to dinner with his son, Marty, and his family at a restaurant not far from their Connecticut home, and then call it an early evening.

Gordie Howe, who after all of these years still holds every NHL career-scoring record for a right wing, turns 83-years-young today.

While today’s birthday celebration will be more serene, there was a time when Mr. Hockey was more boisterous – on the ice, at least – on this day. See, during Howe’s 26-year NHL career, he spent 10 birthdays on the ice, helping the Red Wings to a 5-3-2 record in those games.

“It was really funny to play on your birthday,” said Howe, in a phone conversation with DetroitRedWings.com. “Guys would desperately try to get me the puck on my birthday.”

Yet there was one person, Howe said, who didn’t see it that way.

“Jack Adams didn’t think too much about birthdays,” said Howe, of the former Red Wings GM. “He just thought that guys were too distracted with their birthdays and not focused on playing.”

Focus never was a problem for Howe, who compiled 801 goals and 1,049 assists in 1,767 career games. He was a big birthday performer, scoring four goals with 11 assists and four minor penalties.

Howe had four mulit-point birthday games, including two three-point efforts. He collected three assists in a 6-4 loss to Montreal in Game 1 of the 1956 Stanley Cup finals; and scored a goal with two assists in a 4-2 win over Chicago in Game 3 of the 1963 semifinals.

The only time that Howe did not contribute offensively on March 31 was on his 25th birthday. That day the Boston Bruins held Howe scoreless and dealt the Red Wings a 6-2 loss in Game 4 of the 1953 Stanley Cup semifinals. The Bruins eventually won the series in six games.

"That's probably the one birthday that I remember," Howe said, jokingly.

In a six-team league, where teams often traveled by train together, opposing players generally knew one another. So it wasn’t unusual for players to know if an opponent was celebrating a birthday on any given game night.

And in his own special way, Howe usually had a special on-ice message during pre-game warm-ups for birthday boys.

“You knew about 85 percent of them real well,” he said, “so I would tell guys, ‘Good luck, but watch out.’ ”

Mr. Hockey’s 83rd birthday comes one day after the Red Wings surrendered double-digit goals in a 10-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena. It was only the third time in the 30-year history of The Joe that an opponent blistered the Wings for 10 or more goals on home ice.

During Howe’s career in Detroit, the Red Wings were touched for 10 or more goals five times, but only once on home ice at Olympia Stadium. And that came in his farewell season when Boston pinned an 11-4 loss on the Red Wings.

 
Gordie Howe's Birthday Numbers
Year (Age)
Opponent
Scoring Line  Score
1949 (21)
1 Goal; 0 Assist; 2 PIM 3-1 (W)
1951 (23)
1 Goal; 0 Assist; 0 PIM 2-0 (W)
1953 (25)
0 Goal; 0 Assist; 0 PIM 6-2 (L)
1956 (28)
3 Assists; 0 Assist; 2 PIM 6-4 (L)
1957 (29)
1 Goal; 0 Assist; 0 PIM 4-3 (L)
1963 (35)
1 Goal; 2 Assists; 0 PIM 4-2 (W)
1964 (36)
0 Goal; 2 Assists; 0 PIM 3-0 (W)
1966 (38)
0 Goal; 2 Assists; 2 PIM 5-3 (W)
1968 (40)
0 Goal; 1 Assist; 2 PIM 5-5 (T)
1971 (43)
0 Goal; 1 Assist; 0 PIM 2-2 (T)

 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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