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Michael Grabner

Gordie Howe was larger than hockey

Gordie Howe was larger than hockey

It’s comforting to think a spectacular game of celestial shinny has just begun, now that Gordie Howe has joined Rocket Richard and Jean Beliveau on a perfect sheet of ice where they can swap stories and elbows and can skate forever on again-youthful legs.

Howe’s death Friday at 88 was not a shock but it was still a jolt, a moment to pause during the cross-country mayhem of the Stanley Cup Final and reflect on a rare athlete who was larger than the game he played. The Cup Final resumes Sunday in San Jose, with Pittsburgh up, 3-2. 

Howe suffered a stroke in October 2014 but he had, improbably, rallied to the point of being able to go out shopping or make brief...