steampunks

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A clowder of Detroit Red Wings takes the heat in … well, 1958 is the year cited, but given the make-up of the group, I think that 1961-62 might be more likely. From the top, left to right, that’s Leo Labine, Gordie Howe, and possibly Pit Martin (unless it’s Allan Johnson or Claude Laforge). Middle: Len Lunde, Warren Godfrey, Bill Gadsby, Vic Stasiuk. Front: Parker MacDonald, Alex Delvecchio, and Larry Jeffrey.

(Photo: Tony Spina Collection, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University)

fort william’s fats

Wingman: Detroit captain Alex Delvecchio takes a back seat in December of 1963. “One of the game’s true gentlemen,” says the Hockey Hall of Fame and, true enough, he did win three Lady Byng Trophies to match a trio of Stanley Cups. Also, fyi: “A popular player in the dressing room, Delvecchio was given the affectionate nickname ‘Fats’ as a tribute to his round face.” (Photo: Louis Jaques, Library and Archives Canada/e002343752)

Wingman: Detroit captain Alex Delvecchio takes a back seat in December of 1963. “One of the game’s true gentlemen,” says the Hockey Hall of Fame and, true enough, he did win three Lady Byng Trophies to match a trio of Stanley Cups. Also, fyi: “A popular player in the dressing room, Delvecchio was given the affectionate nickname ‘Fats’ as a tribute to his round face.” (Photo: Louis Jaques, Library and Archives Canada/e002343752)

high five

High Five: The Detroit Red Wings retire Nicklas Lidstrom's number 5 tonight, raising it to the rafters at the Joe Louis Arena before their game against the Colorado Avalanche. "It's pretty hard to be better in your position than Nick Lidstrom was," Detroit coach Mike Babcock was telling NHL.com this week.Lidstrom's name will be the seventh to hang in Detroit, joining Yzerman, Sawchuck, Lindsay, Howe, Delvecchio, and Abel on high. Above, a tribute to the fourfold Stanley-Cup-winning, seven-time Norris-Trophy-raising defenceman, in a high window of the abandoned Lafayette Building in downtown Detroit. Former building, that is: the Lafayette and its hockey art was demolished in 2010. (Photo: DetroitDerek Photography, www.flickr.com/detroitderek)

High Five: The Detroit Red Wings retire Nicklas Lidstrom’s number 5 tonight, raising it to the rafters at the Joe Louis Arena before their game against the Colorado Avalanche. “It’s pretty hard to be better in your position than Nick Lidstrom was,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock was telling NHL.com this week. Lidstrom’s name will be the seventh to hang in Detroit, joining Yzerman, Sawchuck, Lindsay, Howe, Delvecchio, and Abel on high. Above, a tribute to the fourfold Stanley-Cup-winning, seven-time Norris-Trophy-raising defenceman, in a high window of the abandoned Lafayette Building in downtown Detroit. Former building, that is: the Lafayette and its hockey-painted windows were demolished in 2010. (Photo: DetroitDerek Photography, http://www.flickr.com/detroitderek)

 

the concusser

A quick review of Gordie Howe’s career on the ice suggests that he suffered at least six concussions in his time (Head Count, February 10). Another question might be: how many did he cause?

Don’t Mess Around With Gordie: Lou Fontinato at the hospital, February 1, 1959.

They don’t keep stats on this at the NHL, and (so far) there aren’t any independent tracker websites, either. As with the hits to Howe’s head, this is an all-anecdotal study, non-definitive, unmedical, considered accurate to within plus or minus a number we haven’t really figured out yet, altogether without prejudice, not to be tried at home, nor shown to unaccompanied minors or anyone else liable to get the wrong idea about hockey.

Start with Howe’s rookie season. There’s a story about the first time he stepped on Forum ice in Montreal in 1946. Wily old Rocket Richard is supposed to have challenged him, as a rite of Howe’s passage, I suppose, though Richard might just have been mad. And Gordie? Gordie clocked him, as the story’s retailed — for example, at espn.com on the occasion of Howe’s 80th birthday:

Just a teenager, Howe didn’t back down; in fact, he knocked out Richard with one punch. Years later, Howe would knock Richard out of the record books as well. On Jan. 16, 1960, Howe had a goal and an assist to pass Richard as the NHL’s all-time leading scorer. He later scored his 545th career goal (Nov. 10, 1963) to pass Richard as the most prolific goal-scorer in the game.

A good story: in the same moment that the Rocket crumples to the ice, Mr. Hockey®’s legend arises.  Continue reading