Friday, June 17, 2016

Gordie Howe Week - The Gordie Howe Hat Trick

With the passing of hockey legend Gordie Howe last Friday, we pay tribute to one of the greatest players in hockey history, today with our fifth and final installment of Gordie Howe Week here at Third String Goalie as we take a look at the achievement named in his honor, The Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Gordie Howe photo Gordie Howe Red Wings.jpg

Howe, known for both his scoring ability combined with his unquestioned toughness, became the namesake for the combination of being credited for an assist, scoring a goal and engaging in a fight during a game. Despite the feat of having an offensive contribution combined with pugilism being named for Howe, he only managed the feat twice during his lengthy NHL career, having fought just 22 times.

Gordie Howe photo Gordie Howe muscles.jpg

His first came on October 11, 1953 when he was credited for an assist on a goal by Red Kelly at the 11:19 mark of the first period. Howe then scored on a power play at 18:02 with an assist from Kelly and then completed his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick just 31 second late when he fought Fern Flaman of the Toronto Maple Leafs to achieve all three requirements in just 7:14.

 photo The First Gordie Howe Hat Trick 101153.png
The scoresheet from the first Gordie Howe Hat Trick

His second Gordie Howe Hat Trick came later that same season when he first scored a goal, assisted on a goal by Ted Lindsay and then fought Teeder Kennedy, again against Toronto, on March 21, 1954.

Gordie-Howe-vs-Teeder-Kennedy photo Gordie-Howe-vs-Teeder-Kennedy.jpg
Combatants Howe and Kennedy with referee Red Storey

The first recorded Gordie Howe Hat Trick happened back on December 22, 1920 when Harry Cameron of the Toronto St. Pats had a busy night against the Ottawa Senators.

The all-time leader in Gordie Howe Hat Tricks is Brendan Shanahan, with 17. His first came as a member of the New Jersey Devils on February 11, 1989. He would eventually have three while with New Jersey, five while as a member of the St. Louis Blues, one with the Hartford Whalers and eight for the Detroit Red Wings.

"I'd never heard of it until I'd had quite a few of them," said Shanahan, whose NHL career began in 1987. "It didn't get media attention until four or five years ago. They started counting in my 10th year. One list had me at nine and then they went back and counted and found more. No teammate ever mentioned it to me until my last one.

"All of a sudden, someone would print these lists every time Gordie had a birthday. By then, I was too old to get more. Players might be more aware of it now. If you get two of the three, someone might say, 'Hey, all you need is a goal.' I think it happens more if you have a fight and one of those two other things. Nobody ever says, 'Hey, you've got a goal and an assist, go get in a fight.'"

Detroit Red Wings 1997-98 jersey photo Detroit Red Wings 1997-98 F jersey.jpg
Detroit Red Wings 1997-98 jersey photo Detroit Red Wings 1997-98 B jersey.jpg
1997-98 Detroit Red Wings Brendan Shanahan jersey
from the career leader in Gordie Howe Hat Tricks.

Next on the list of regular season Gordie Howe Hat Tricks is Rick Tocchet with 15 while with the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes and again for the Flyers. Adding in his playoff totals, Tocchet becomes the all-time leader with 18.

1991-92 Philadelphia Flyers jersey photo Philadelphia Flyers 1991-92 22 F.jpg
1991-92 Philadelphia Flyers jersey photo Philadelphia Flyers 1991-92 22 B.jpg
1991-92 Philadelphia Flyers Rich Tocchet jersey

Brian Sutter checks in third with an even dozen, all while with the St. Louis Blues. Sutter also had an additional five Gordie Howe Hat Tricks in the postseason, which elevates him into a tie with Shanahan.

St Louis Blues 84-85 jersey photo StLouisBlues84-85Fjersey.png
St Louis Blues 84-85 jersey photo StLouisBlues84-85Bjersey.png
1984-85 St. Louis Blues Brian Sutter jersey

The active leader is Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunie Tig Junior Elvis Iginla of the Colorado Avalanche who currently sits at nine.

Calgary Flames 2001-02 jersey photo Calgary Flames 2001-02 jersey.jpg
2001-02 Calgary Flames Jarome Iginla jersey from
the current active Gordie Howe Hat Trick leader
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Double Gordie Howe Hat Tricks have happened on a few occasions, with the first being on March 9, 2010 when Fedor Tyutin had a goal and two assists and Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist of his own as well as having a fight with each other!

Adam Henrique and Jarome Iginla duplicated the feat when they fought each other on January 10, 2012 with Iginla also having a goal and 2 assists and Henrique having one of each for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick of his own.

In a slightly more unusual variation of the double Gordie Howe Hat Trick, Joe Thornton and Ryan Clowe both had a goal, an assist and a fight for the San Jose Sharks, the only double by two players on the same team during the same game.

The most memorable night in Gordie Howe Hat Trick history was November 14, 1992 game between the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Islanders when Tom Fitzgerald and Benoit Houge of the Islanders and Wayne Presley of Buffalo all achieved the feat for the only triple in Gordie Howe Hat Trick game in NHL history as Presley and Houge having fought each other in the final minute of the second period and Fitzgerald's fight completing his Howe Hat Trick with a fight against the Sabres Colin Patterson at 13:46 of the third period.

History was again made during the 2014-15 season when Steve Pinizzotto of the Edmonton Oilers was recalled from the Oklahoma City Barons on November 19, 2014 for his 19th career NHL game and managed to record a Gordie Howe Hat Trick on the night he scored his first career NHL goal.

Pinizzotto Oilers fight photo Pinizzotto Oilers fight.jpg
 photo Pinizzotto Oilers goal.jpg
Pinizzotto had his fight early in the game and then
proudly displays his first goal puck after the game

Today's featured jersey is a 1953-54 Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey. Howe would win his fourth consecutive Art Ross Trophy as the scoring champion and the Red Wings would win the third Stanley Cup of Howe's career following the 1953-54 season, but it is the Gordie Howe Hat Trick that exemplifies his all around game that we celebrate today.

This sweater can be traced back to that era by the lack of sleeve numbers, which did not appear until 1961-62 thanks to the advent of television coverage.

Detroit Red Wings 1955-56 jersey, Detroit Red Wings 1955-56 jersey
Detroit Red Wings 1955-56 jersey, Detroit Red Wings 1955-56 jersey
photos courtesy of Classic Auctions

While you may expect a rough, offensively skilled player like Shanahan or Tocchet to be a likely candidate for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, sometimes a player who you might not expect can join the club, such as the offensively gifted Pavel Datsyuk.



Conversely, there are tough guys you don't expect to find on the scoresheet who have the planets align one magical night, allowing them to find the back of the net, such as career 17 goal scorer Kelly Chase of the Blues, who welcomes Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko to the club with a entertaining history lesson for the youngsters.


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