Sport: The Bashful Basher

Some people call it hockey, but its real name is intimidation. Whack, slam, hook and trip—these are the tools of the trade, and nobody employs them more ruthlessly and recklessly than Detroit's Gordie Howe, 34, a veteran of 17 years and quite possibly the most combative player who ever climbed onto a rink.

In the course of his career in the National Hockey League, Howe has had most of his front teeth knocked out and 300 stitches taken in his face. He has broken his skull, his collarbone, and assorted ribs and toes. He...

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