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The Greatly Exaggerated Death of Mr. Howe
Stan Fischler
November 27, 1967
There lay Gordie on the ice in a pool of blood. An unfortunate accident? So thought impartial observers, but to the frustrated Red Wings it looked like a case of plain premeditated murder
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November 27, 1967

The Greatly Exaggerated Death Of Mr. Howe

There lay Gordie on the ice in a pool of blood. An unfortunate accident? So thought impartial observers, but to the frustrated Red Wings it looked like a case of plain premeditated murder

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Antagonists were in agreement on one point: further action by the NHL president was badly needed. Campbell responded with a loud gavel, warning that "very substantial fines and suspensions" would be applied, if necessary, to stop bitter feuding between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings.

Armed with Campbell's edict, Referee Bill Chadwick tolerated no nonsense in the third game, played at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. He whistled Howie Meeker off the ice in the opening minute, after which he had to penalize only two other players. Equilibrium seemed to have been restored and both teams were playing hockey according to the book. At the end of six games, the teams were tied, 3-3.

In the final game the teams battled through three periods of regulation time without a goal being scored. Checking remained close through the opening eight minutes of the sudden-death overtime.

Then Ivan sent out a line of George Gee, Steve Black and Joe Carveth.

Gee, Black and Carveth launched a dangerous rush for the Wings, backed by Stewart and Reise. Several times the puck bounced close to the goal line, only to be cleared; but the Leafs couldn't quite get it out of their own zone. Finally, Gee captured the puck and slid it across the ice to Reise, who was standing near the blue line 60 feet from the goal.

His shot went straight to the net where Turk Broda appeared to have the short side blocked with his skate, pad and stick. But the puck bounced over Broda's stick and hit the back of the net. Detroit had won 1-0.

The final round against the New York Rangers might have been anticlimactic except that it too went into overtime on the seventh game, during which Howe was in the arena. When the ancient silver mug was pushed out to center ice, to be claimed by the victorious Wings, 13,095 fans were chanting: "We want Howe! We want Howe!" As Gordie gingerly stepped onto the ice, Lindsay grabbed his hat and sent it flying into the stands. During the postgame ceremony, Howe himself was at mid-ice, one hand proudly on the cup. As a better writer than I once put it, his death had been greatly exaggerated.

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