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Gordie Howe Closes In on Rocket Richard’s Scoring Record

Oct. 10, 1963 - Gordie Howe scored two first-period power-play goals tonight to move within three goals of Maurice (Rocket) Richard’s NHL record as he led the Red Wings to a season-opening 5-3 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks before a crowd of 12,446 — largest ever for for a Wings’ home opener — at the Detroit Olympia. The 36-year-old Howe, in his 18th NHL season, received the Hart and Ross Trophies before the game from the league president, Clarence Campbell, for being the most valuable player and leading scorer last year. Howe then started out where he left off last season by scoring two goals in the first eight minutes. Howe’s tallies raised his career total to 542. Richard, the former Montreal star, holds the record of 544. Howe already holds the record for most points, most assists, and most games among his many marks. Chicago made a determined bid for a comeback, getting goals by Bobby Hull and Ab McDonald in the final period. But the Wing goalie, Terry Sawchuk, held the Black Hawks off for the last seven minutes. “I just hope he gets the big one at home,” said general manager-coach Sid Abel afterward. “And I hope it’s a good one, like tonight’s two, instead of something out of a scramble.” Howe said he was nervous before the game. “You never get over it,” he said afterward, sipping a cup of hot tea. “No matter how many years you’re in it, you never do. You try to act calm and hope you fool somebody. But deep down, you’re nervous. I guess the only time you get over it is when you’re dead.” Howe, as usual, preferred to talk about his teammates rather than himself. “How about the way Bill [Gadsby] set me up on that second goal,” he said. “He put it there like a tee shot, and all I had to do was — whack!”


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