Mark Howe

This is Mark Howe in a truly unique uniform. Long before the Whalers became the Hurricanes Gordie’s kid was a quality NHL defender (who could also jump up to the wing) and many hockey fans believe he is among the two or three best players outside the Hockey Hall of Fame.

I’ve been looking at major injuries through NHL history, and whenever we talk about the bad ones Mark Howe’s name comes up early in the conversation.

In late 1980 (Dec 27), Howe crashed into the goal and impaled himself on the metal post at the center of the net (the post is no longer in use, obviously). It was among the most horrifying events in the game’s history, and Howe was sidelined six weeks and lost a tremendous amount of weight (and became weak) because of a liquid diet (because there was great fear of intestinal infection from the injury).

Amazingly, the injury didn’t have a huge impact on his numbers. He scored 80 points in 74gp the previous season, and managed 65 in 63gp during the 80-81 season.

Mark Howe was an amazing athlete. Among his feats:

  1. Member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team at age 16.
  2. Outstanding baseball player (a catcher).
  3. Tremendous golfer.
  4. Played on Memorial Cup winner 1972-73
  5. Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy (Memorial Cup Tournament MVP)(1973)
  6. WHA Second All-Star Team (1974)
  7. Lou Kaplan Trophy (WHA Rookie of the Year)(1974)
  8. WHA First All-Star Team (1979)
  9. NHL First All-Star Team (1983,1986,1987)
  10. NHL Plus/Minus Leader (1986) (+85)
  11. Played in NHL All-Star Game (1981,1983,1986,1988)
  12. Assisted on Gordie Howe’s final NHL goal in Hartford’s playoff game at Montreal on April 9, 1980
  13. Was Norris Trophy runner-up and Masterton Trophy finalist in 1982-83.
  14. Was Norris Trophy finalist and Hart Trophy finalist in 1985-86.
  15. Led all NHL defensemen with plus-57 rating in 1986-87.
  16. Was Norris Trophy finalist in 1986-87.
  17. At pro level, began playing defense in 1976-77 but did not play defense exclusively until he entered the NHL (I believe he played some LW in 82-83).

I understand the HHOF frowns upon those players who do not play for dynasties and didn’t win hardware, but it is a mystery to me that Mark Howe is outside Hockey’s Hall.

It reflects badly on the game.

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6 Responses to "Mark Howe"

  1. Art Vandelay says:

    Howe. Middleton. Anderson. And, goddamit, Henderson. What is wrong with the mental defectives who vote for Hall membership?

  2. sacamano says:

    I’m still mystified why the Soviet’s KLM line doesn’t have a wing all to itself. The last time I went to visit the Hall they were not even mentioned. Now that is criminal — even if they were dastardly commies

    Of course by “Hockey Hall of Fame” they really mean “NHL Hall of Fame/Buy Stuff Here”

  3. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    In my youth… NHL hockey meant Saturday dinner on trays, in front of a black & white TV, beside my dad and an uncle or three. The men did all the talking and I took in what I could. Needless to say… I didn’t learn a whole lot about hockey. ;-D

    Gordie Howe was quietly my favourite player. (Dad was a Leafs fan. I’ll admit… that Dave Keon fellow was something special.) To me, Gordie Howe embodied everything about the game that captivated me.

    One of my great thrills of the WHA days was going to Houston Aeros, and later, New England Whalers games. Even pushing 50, he would regularly take my breath away. I swear… ;-) he could read the ice with his eyes closed.

    I think Mark was only 19 the first time I saw him, but he already showed composure beyond his years. Any time I watched him step on the ice, chances were… he could make opposing players look stupid. A-1 hockey sense.

    So, Lain… since hockey history is one of your many fortes… Are there any great father/son combos in the hall?

    Oh… and, Art?

    Lain doesn’t think Anderson is HHoF worthy.
    ;-p

    ………

    OT – TC
    Lain,

    Yesterday (Magic 99 – from CinO comments) KLo said that the Oilers’ TC will “take to the ice on Thursday”. I’ll be there. Call me.

    Louise

  4. Lowetide says:

    Louise: Thursday should be fine. Want me to bring you a Tim Horton’s? I’ll probably come straight from home, what time will you be there?

    The Siebert’s are both in the HHOF.

  5. Andrew says:

    I think that Mark was a better dman the Scott Niedermayer. I think he played during a time when there was great topend depth at defenseman. He may not have been better than guys like Bourque, Coffey, Chelios and Larry Robinson but whenever an All-Star team or Team Canada was pulled together, he was on it. And he was the best player on his team for at least 5 years

  6. IceDragoon says:

    Andrew…

    Different hockey eras, for sure, but I have coveted both of those players.

    Really smart and instinctive hockey players are a weakness of mine. What can I say? Thankfully, my husband is very understanding.
    ;-D

    ………

    Lain…

    Thursday should be fine.
    cool.
    Are you bringing your notes, or flying on impulse?

    Want me to bring you a Tim Horton’s?
    No, thanx.

    I’ll probably come straight from home, what time will you be there?
    If memory serves… the skaters start around 9. I’ll try for 8:45ish.

    The Siebert’s are both in the HHOF.
    Ah… thanx.
    Just a little before my time.

    Oh, and…
    yes… I’m going even more OT. ;-D

    How about that Gagner kid?!? Took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. He and this kid named Sutter did everything they could to try and carry their team to a win last night.

    If MacT and co. were watching along with the rookies in Yellowknife, I’m sure they were duly impressed.

    Sutter’s comments before game 7.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/article.jsp?content=20070907_171420_6236

    … excerpt – lead-in …

    Heading into Friday’s Game 7, Gagner led the team in scoring with five goals and six assists, but that’s not the biggest change in his game in the last year because he’s always had considerable offensive talent.

    The 18-year-old from Oakville, Ont., has been able to mesh those talents with the conservative, defence-first team game demanded by Canadian head coach Brent Sutter.

    “We talked to him about it that . . . if he wants to be an established player not just at this level, but at the pro level, he needs to make a commitment defensively and he jumped right on board here,” Sutter said.

    “Because he’s such a smart player, it wasn’t hard for him to figure out. He hasn’t cheated one bit. He’s been smart in the neutral zone. He’s made the simple plays when they’ve had to be made. Obviously you can see he’s very gifted with the puck and from the top of the face-off circles down, he’s dynamite.”

    High praise from someone known for his understatement.

    Oh, and…

    I heard on Global last night that Mr. Cogliano “spent the summer” in SoCal with Chad and co.

    OK…
    I’m done…
    ;-p
    :-D
    Louise

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