Apr 072010

More About Orr

When Bobby Orr signed a contract to play for the Boston Bruins in 1966-67, for a base salary of $15,000 and a bonus of $5,000 for playing in more than half his team’s games, he became the highest paid rookie in NHL history. He went on from there to become one of the greatest players in the annals of the game.

“He was the greatest,” says  Don Cherry, his former coach.

In 1997, The Hockey News conducted a survey, attempting to discover who was the better player, Orr or Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky, who played eight more seasons than Orr, was the choice of voters by a narrow margin. The difference was less than one per cent.

In 2000, The Hockey News conducted another vote. A panel of experts was asked to name the most significant full season performance by an NHL player.

This time Orr edged Gretzky by the slimmest or margins–864 votes to 857.

Orr’s 1969-70 season, in which he  became the first defenseman to win the scoring title with 120 points, was seen as the most significant full season by an NHL player.  Gretzky’s 92 goal, 212 point season in 1981-82, received just seven fewer votes in the balloting.

Before knee injuries forced Orr to retire at age 30, he had helped the Bruins to two Stanley Cups and had smashed most  scoring records for  defensemen. During the 1969-70 season,  he won four major trophies: the Hart (regular season MVP), the Norris (best defenseman), the Art Ross (scoring leader) and the Conn Smythe (playoff MVP)

No other player has ever earned so much silverware in one NHL season.

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