Gordie Howe, aka “Mr. Hockey,” turned 81 today and he’s still going strong. Frankly, his career, in terms of numbers, longevity, and class, speaks for itself. But here’s a story I found with a quick web search. It’s no secret that he played (and at a very high level) as late as 1980, when he was 51- yes he spent a number of years on the same team as his sons, Marty and Mark. Not only that, I found a video on YouTube from 1979 of Howe playing with a then-17 year old you might have heard of in an exhibition pitting the old WHA against Dynamo Moscow (in the days of Communism, games like that were a big deal because players from the Soviet bloc hardly ever came stateside). Note how, even then, Mr. Hockey thought this kid could be pretty good, uncertain only of what would happen at full physical maturity.
20 years later, Wayne Gretzky smashed quite a few of Howe’s records, not to mention those of other players.
Sean Avery’s also done this in his career. The Rangers demolished New Jersey on Monday night but still have plenty of work to due in order to lock up a playoff spot, much less make noise once there. A few more please, Mr. Avery, so we don’t depend exclusively on our goalie?