"If I'm not going to be ready, I think it's not very smart to put me out there," he said.
Jaromir Jagr battles rust, fatigue in first Flames skate →
"You've got to love what you're doing," Howe once said. "If you love it, you can overcome any handicap or the soreness or all the aches and pains, and continue to play for a long, long time."
Gordie Howe, known as 'Mr. Hockey,' dies at 88 →