Fortunately for the Whalers, the left wing on the line with Gordie and center Mike Rogers is a smallish, tough, brilliant player named Mark Howe, Gordie's second son. At 24 Mark is starting to come into his own, displaying flashes of the greatness that has been predicted for him.
On Gordie's return to the Forum last month, the Montreal fans applauded his every shift, the routine plays and the occasional surprise, and they looked away when he turned over the puck. Afterward generally hard-boiled reporters complimented Gordie on a nice game; but it was Mark, who scored the tying goal in a 4--4 game, whom they selected as the game's first star. "They came to see Gordie," Blackburn said. "Well, instead of seeing Gordie at 30, they saw Mark at 24. They saw the heritage, a different Howe era."
Which would suit the Old Man just fine. That night he stood outside the Forum signing autographs. Mark and their teammates had gone off to celebrate the tie. It was cold, and Gordie's hair was wet. A young boy handed him a program, and Howe signed it over the picture of his son.
"That's not you," the boy protested.
"No," Gordie answered, "but that's my work."