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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  - 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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80