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October 25, 2012

Gordie Howe on Sid Abel

Go Ahead. Name the third member of Detroit's famous "Production Line." Sure you can name Gordie Howe. Most of you could name Ted Lindsay too. Give up? The answer is Sid Abel.

While Howe and Lindsay brought a mixture of styles and aggression that would intimidate their opponents, Abel's creativity and savvy was the backbone of the line and the Red Wings. But don't think he was soft. He could hit as hard or be as abrasive as his line mates. In fact, it can be argued that Abel, not Howe, Sawchuk, Lindsay or Kelly, was the backbone of the great Red Wings team of the 1950's. Hockey historian Ed Fitkin was once quoted as saying "Sid will go down in the Red Wings' history as the greatest competitor and inspirational force the Red Wings ever had."

Gordie Howe would agree with that. Mr. Abel left quite the impression on young Gordie very early in his career:

“In my first game, he gave me my first lesson," said Howe. "I was in the corner fighting for the puck with him, and when I came back to the bench he said, ‘what are you doing in the corner?’ I looked at him and thought it was kind of a stupid question. And I said, ‘I was there trying to help you get the puck.’ He said, ‘what am I going to do if I get it and you’re standing beside me? What I want you to do is get your fanny in front of the net, and if you’re right-handed, make sure that your stick is free. Don’t go on your backhand, go on your forehand, that’s what I’m passing you the puck for.’ And I’ll be darned if I didn’t go out the next shift and get a goal. You think I didn’t listen to everything he said after that?”

Read the full Sid Abel biography

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