Howe, 86, resting after serious stroke

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Gordie Howe's health has been touch-and-go for a few years, and Tuesday brought bad news on "Mr. Hockey."

The 86-year-old Red Wings legend suffered a serious stroke Sunday, his son Murray told the Detroit News.

"The right side of his body is very, very weak. He's unable to stand without help. He's able to speak, but very, very difficult to speak," Murray Howe said.

"He knows who he is. He knows the people around him. But it is very difficult for him to get up and walk around. So he is pretty much confined to his bed right now. So we're just trying to keep him comfortable, and that's our goal."

Howe had spinal surgery over the summer and has struggled with dementia for several years. That condition took a turn for the worse in the summer of 2012, and Howe made what many assumed would be one of his last public appearances in March 2013.

Howe's son Mark, a Hall of Famer as well, told the Detroit Free Press that the family would "keep our fingers crossed," but that the outlook is not good.

"The doctor said those mini strokes would gradually get worse and worse," Mark Howe said. "With the type of dementia he has, the long-term outlook is not good. Dad was with me most of summer, and he had a very difficult summer. He had surgery, and that got rid of some of the pain. But he had small strokes, and we were told there were ultimately going to be bigger and bigger ones. That was predicted six months ago. And that's been the case.

"I told my kids earlier this summer, my dad's health is not what it should be. That's why my daughter went to Lubbock on Saturday, brought her little 1-year-old. They had a wonderful day, went for a long walk with dad.

"Sunday morning, he had the stroke."

One of the greatest players of all time, Howe won six Hart Trophies and six scoring titles and holds the NHL record with 1,767 games played, He starred for the Wings from 1946 to 1971 and played professionally until the 1979-80 season, when he returned to the NHL with the Hartford Whalers after six seasons in the WHA.

 

SABRES' HISTORICALLY BAD NIGHT

Don't let the two wins fool you — the Buffalo Sabres are terrible, and they're going to be terrible all season long.

Tuesday may have been the high/low-water mark for that. The Sabres were outshot by the Maple Leafs — who, mind you, rarely outshoot anyone — 37-10. Yes, an NHL team managed 10 shots over the course of a game. Buffalo now has 10 goals in 11 games.

The Sabres' previous franchise worst was 11 shots, back in 1981. The Leafs — in their billion-year history — have never allowed less.

The situation screams for us to fire up the hockey-reference.com Play Index, which is the best way to put stuff like this into context. It spans from the 1987-88 season until today.

CBS Sports' Adam Gretz tweeted the Sabres had, "10 shots on goal, 37 shots allowed."

Forget that "37 shots allowed" qualifier. How many teams have taken 10 shots or less in a game in the last 27 years? Nineteen. None since 2008.

How many individual players have had at least 11 shots in a game? That would be 267. Pavel Bure leads the way with 14 in 1996. Two players — Patric Hornqvist and Steven Stamkos — have 12 apiece in single games this season alone.

KREIDER NOT SUSPENDED

Chris Kreider was kicked out of Rangers-Wild on Tuesday for boarding Jonas Brodin. His discipline ends there, though, and that's the right call.

Kreider, who has not been suspended in a season-plus with the Rangers, shoved Brodin, who returned to the game, into the boards from the goal line.

It didn't look good, and it was certainly boarding. Still, Brodin initiated body contact by leaning back to protect the puck. On Twitter, @NHLPlayerSafety (not so) subtly directed attention toward some examples of similar hits that did not warrant suspensions.

The most relevant part from Brendan Shanahan: "It's important to note that on each of these plays, the hitter did not excessively take advantage of his physical and territorial advantage near the boards simply because contact was initiated against him."

Brodin initiated contact, and Kreider was, in the eyes of the league, not guilty of "excessively" taking advantage. Makes enough sense.

Contributor: Sean Gentille

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Sporting News editorial team