Monday, November 20, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Honoring Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe

RECOMMENDED READING


There is only one number in the NHL that is retired leaguewide and that is Wayne Gretzky's 99. But last week, the Great One himself said he would like to see the league retire the No. 9 worn by Gordie Howe, who died on June 10.

Actually, what happened was Gretzky was talking about Howe's legacy and someone asked Gretzky if the league should honor Howe by retiring his No. 9. What was Gretzky supposed to say? Of course he had to say that the league should retire Howe's number.

Not to take anything away from Howe's contributions and impact on the game of hockey, but it seems a bit of a stretch to retire his number across all teams. In fact, I'm not even sure Gretzky's 99 should be retired. Although, if I'm a hockey player, I wouldn't be dumb enough to wear 99.

The only number in sports that should be retired is the 42 worn by baseball's Jackie Robinson. The impact he had socially by breaking the color barrier makes him a figure worth honoring in such a leaguewide manner.

As far as Howe's 9, part of the consideration is other players in the game have worn No. 9, including Rocket Richard, Bobby Hull and Brett Hull. To announce that Howe's 9 is being retired might, inadvertently, diminish the legacy of those players.

SB Nation came up with a great alternative to honor Howe: Name a trophy after him. Hand out the Gordie Howe Award to the player who combines toughness, leadership and skill — the exact traits that Howe possessed. In fact, it might quickly become the most coveted award in hockey.

Now that would be the best way to honor Mr. Hockey.

Comments
Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

BRANDON — At one point during Saturday’s game against the Islanders, the Lightning was first in the NHL in points and second in points scored by its defensemen. That’s one reason the team is off to the best start in franchise history.It’s also by des...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Published: 11/19/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Published: 11/18/17
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Published: 11/18/17
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

This is what happens when you have the best record in the league: You get the best from the other team. The Islanders came out strong and the Lightning couldn’t match it, falling behind 4-0 early in the third. For the most part, the Lightning has bee...
Published: 11/18/17
Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

TAMPA — It’s still way early, but if the Lightning’s record start continues, there will be a lot of hardware up for grabs. And we’re not just talking about the Stanley Cup. Nikita Kucherov has league MVP written all over him. Andrei Vasilevskiy coul...
Published: 11/18/17

Red-hot Lightning leading NHL in more than wins

Nikita Kucherov, top left, celebrates with teammate Steven Stamkos (91) after scoring against Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer. [AP photo]The Lightning (15-2-2) enters tonight’s game against the visiting Islanders (10-6-2) leading the leagu...
Published: 11/18/17
Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

TAMPA — A local TV crew set up shop in front of Brayden Point’s locker stall the other day, waiting for the Lightning forward to be ready.Then, captain Steven Stamkos walked into the room for his scrum. It didn’t take long for the TV crew to change c...
Published: 11/17/17
Lightning pummels Stars for fifth straight win

Lightning pummels Stars for fifth straight win

TAMPA — The Lightning welcomed Ben Bishop back with a classy, fitting video tribute in Thursday’s first period. The sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena gave Bishop, the greatest goalie in franchise history, a standing ovation. It was an emotional...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Lightning journal: Specials teams in the spotlight vs. Stars

Lightning journal: Specials teams in the spotlight vs. Stars

TAMPA — C Braydon Point’s shorthanded goal tipped the game in the Lightning’s favor and the three penalties it killed during the second period kept it that way in Thursday’s 6-1 victory against the Stars.Dallas entered the game with an NHL-best 30.2 ...
Published: 11/16/17