Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bobby Orr

"But the way I played, I got hit a lot. So my style didn't help my problem (knee injuries) I didn't want to play any other way. You know if I came back today and I was able to play, I would hope I'd play the same way.So I can't complain."

Bobby Orr (11:14 mark - link below)

Peter Mansbridge and Bobby Orr
You can see the scars from the surgeries that Orr endured during his brief but amazing career

In an interview with CBC's Peter Mansbridge, NHL and Boston Bruins legend, Bobby Orr reveals that he hurt his knee in his rookie season in an attempt to go around Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Marcel Pronovost.

I'm showing my age here as not only do I remember Pronovost, I saw him play. The old Boston Garden crowd called him "Nutty Nose" because of his misshaped proboscis due to many years of hockey collisions. Remember, back then, there were no helmets or shields.

What's amazing about that little piece of information is that it was the first of many knee injuries that Orr suffered during his career, but he still managed to overcome them early on to become arguably the best player to ever play in the NHL.

That said, I also had the pleasure of seeing Bobby Orr play live. I also saw Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Guy LaFleur, Henri Richard, Ken Dryden, and a host of other Hall of Famers, and Bobby Orr was the greatest of them all.

Please don't tell me about statistics and all the goals the great Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux scored. Bobby Orr was the greatest player of them all. Gretzky and Lemiuex never subjected themselves to the pounding that Orr took, and as he said above, he wouldn't have played any other way.

Here are the awards he won in his career:
  • 1966-67 Calder Memorial Trophy - Rookie of the year - Orr remains the youngest player in NHL history to win the award
  • 1967-68 through 1974-1975 James Norris Trophy - Best defenseman -Orr won the award in 8 straight years including his last full season
  • 1969-70 - 1974-75 Art Ross Trophy - Most points in a season - Orr has been the only defenseman in NHL history to win it - and won it twice and won it in his last full season on ravaged knees
  • 1969-70 - 1970-71 - 1971-72 Hart Memorial Trophy - Regular season MVP - Orr won it 3 consecutive seasons
  • 1969-70 - 1971-72 -  Conn Smythe Trophy -  Playoffs MVP
  • 1974-75 Lester B. Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award) MVP voted by the NHL Players Association
  • NHL Plus/Minus leader in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1975 - the most in NHL history

Orr revolutionized the game of hockey. He was the first "puck carrying defenseman" in the game at a time when blueliners were named that because that's where they stayed on the ice. To this day, a puck carrying defenseman can make the difference between a playoff team and a Stanley Cup contender.

To this day, there's never been another player in the NHL like Bobby Orr.

Orr's new book: Orr: My Story

Just in case you haven't seen Orr in action, I give you this video:

Just more of the many reasons why hockey is the best sport of all!

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