Of all of the players who ever played in the NHL or other professional hockey league, none bring on more obsessive fans that Bobby Orr. There are plenty of Gretzky fans and Howe nuts. There are plenty who idolize Vezina, Plante, Richard, etc. But no player has more fans who are foaming at the mouth and ready "to step outside" over discussions of his greatness than Bobby Orr!
This is just something that I have noticed over the years. You can disagree about Lemieux, Beliveau, Cyclone Taylor, or nearly any other player. But if you don't give full respect to Bobby Orr, someone's blood pressure is going to start moving into the unsafely high levels.
I honestly don't mean this as a negative comment on Bobby Orr. Just the opposite. No other player has been able to excite fans into this level of passion, or obsession. Interesting that his career was half the length of most of the greats of the game.
"Maybe Fischler is senile and thought he was in 1966 or something, that would explain things."
I have thought of this before, but the last post brought it back to mind. Fischler, who is usually considered fairly intelligent, must be "senile" for not ranking Bobby Orr higher! He's like the East German Olympic judge who gives low marks to an otherwise flawless figure skating performance and throws off the entire competition. If not for that one judge, that skater would have earned the gold medal! Much like Fischler causing Orr to be ranked 2nd instead of 1st! I don't know if Bobby Orr is concerned with his ranking on the list of all time greats, but I have always felt that a player's longevity and ability to come back from injury were a part of his greatness. Just my opinion.
Since you quoted me I will attempt an answer, at least give you my opinion on why this attitude appears to be pervasive (which I would agree it is). Let's forget where Crazy Stan ranked Orr (I think just about anyone who doesn't have a personal beef with Orr would agree that #13 is untenable by any criteria) and limit ourselves to those IDIOTS WHO DON'T THINK HE SHOULD BE #1 (just kidding).
For me, and I am unashamedly one of these people who get their noses out of joint when anyone dares to question his greatness, it has to do with how he influenced me when I was a kid. I am over 40 now but I can honestly say that I still remember how important he was to me when I was a kid; he was what was referred to at the time as a "role model" (a term that has since fallen out of favour). The key for me is the combination of what he did on and off the ice, the person that he was (is), not just the hockey player; you hint at it yourself, "I don't know if he is concerned with his ranking..." - I can assure you that he is not. It is his humility that sets him apart, the way that he realized what an influence he would necessarily have on a generation of kids, and how important he obviously considered this responsibility to be. I mean, I could lay it on thicker (really!), I'm not saying he was a saint, he was by all account a normal, fun-loving, partying guy like the rest of them but the way he carried himself on the ice (head down, skate to the bench) and off (the trips to the hospital, the rapport with the fans) was pure class. When you realize that at the time he was so far beyond those around him in terms of talent, pure hockey sense/skill, it is even more remarkable that he maintained this sense of humility and grace; (maybe it was contrived ? maybe his parents are responsible ?(RIP Doug BTW); doesn't really matter to me).
If you are only looking at pure hockey skill, statistics, longevity; then it may be at least arguable who was "the best". But if you look at the full measure of the man, he was the greatest athelete, never mind hockey player, ever. (One final thing, he played almost his entire career in pain (see the '76 Canada Cup for example); he didn't "come back from injury" - he played with injury his whole career).
I was just thimking about this the other day as well. There are some players whose legend will live forever.
What names will remain household names 50 or even 100 yr's from now? Without a doubt, Orr will be at the top of that list.
I am not even a huge Orr fan or collector but understand and appreciate his legend and why many believe he was the greatest to ever play.
Others that will stand the test of time will be Morenz, Gretzky, Vezina, Howe, and Maurice Richard.
In my opinion, these names are the elite of the elite. I'm sure others here may add to it or replace one of my choices with another as it is very subjective.
Bobby Orr is to Hockey as Mickey Mantle is to Baseball.
well said AL and EARL.bobby orr is number one in my books.i guess i am real stuborn but there is nothing anyone on this forum can say that will change my mind on how i feel about bobby orr being number 1.i used to collect bobby orr and gretzky memorabilia,a few years back i sold my whole gretzky collection as a light bulb flashed in my head and said "what are you doing with all this gretzky stuff,you know orr is number one" , now i have a whole room dedicated to the one and only "holy grail of hockey" BOBBY ORR. ***by the way--here is my ultimate "dream team" goalie-terry sawchuk, defence-bobby orr + ray bourque, center-wayne gretzky, left wing-bobby hull, right wing-gordie howe.*** these guys would be my top six if i was a part of voting for all time players. bobby orr #1 of course!!!
This message has been edited by danthevintageman on Feb 14, 2007 3:58 PM
I'm not sure it is so unusual for fans who grew up cheering for a certain player to consider him the best of all time. Orr came in and changed the role of defensemen forever. His offensive domination from the blueline was unmatched and man could he skate. His goal against the Flames was a classic that everyone should see. If my memory serves me he was killing a penalty and went end to end almost untouched before scoring.
Gretzky fans seem to have the same type of fanatic idolization. He too dominated in a way not seen before his time. He was not the most talented player of all time. What I mean is, his shot was not the hardest, his skating was average, and he did not have overwhelming size and strength. What he had was great hockey sense; always knowing where his teammates were on the ice and being able to project were the puck was going and were he should be to get that puck. I have trouble picking all time greats 1-3 because I only watched Gretzky on a regular basis, I missed most of Orr's and Howe's career.
For me, when I was old enough to follow hockey seriously on my own and not just pick the team my brothers were cheering for was when Mike Bossy started playing for the Islanders. Being from Saskatchewan I was also enticed to cheer for the Islanders since many of their players were from the same province. So after all that, I feel Bossy and Trottier rank rather low on many people's all time lists. Although this is only speculation...if the Islanders of 79 to 83 had been the Toronto Maple Leafs then Trottier and Bossy would be icons. But I would have a tough time putting them in the top five or even ten if I don't let emotions get in the way.
As far as the Orr/Gretzky debate ... I declare a tie. We will need a shootout to decided the winner.
hi dean,in memory and respect to bobby orr's father doug orr,lets break that tie for now. he passed away last week. even made don cherry cry on hockey night in canada. wouldn't it be interesting to hear who don cherry's favourite player was? we all know the answer. all the best to the orr family!!!
Dean - I agree with you regarding the Islanders. They get no hobby love and little respect. At one point in the early 80's Trottier was considered the best all around player in the game. Bossy is close to the most prolific sniper in hockey history and Denis Potvin a perennial all-star and Norris Trophy candidate. I think the lack of respect currently for them is due to the fact that they were seldom a dominant regular season team as well as the Cup Champions.
I do disagree about Gretzky. He was the best lateral skater I have ever seen and his slap shot was hard and accurate.
To keep the thread on track Bobby Orr was my hero growing up and it is great to still hear children today shout -"He shoots he scores - Bobby Orr."
"At one point in the early 80's Trottier was considered the best all around player in the game. Bossy is close to the most prolific sniper in hockey history and Denis Potvin a perennial all-star and Norris Trophy candidate."
No comments !!!!!!!!!!!!!
"...they were seldom a dominant regular season team..."
That was intentional...The Torrey-Arbour global strategy
i think one of the things about the orr mystique is that his career was cut short by injury. one will always wonder what might have been. plus he was such a dominant offensive presence as a defensive man. in today's game if you had a defensive man who could score like this he'd be MVP every year. signed greg
Greg, there is nothing mistique about Orr. He played enough years to become simply the best.
And for your information when he started teams played 2 pairs of defensemen and 3 lines of forwards. So defensemen spent more time on ice, and that was the main reason why Bobby has chosen his position. Otherwise he would have been an attacker.
That's a good point Elmar. A lot of people use the length of his career as a sort of justification or excuse whenever the disussion of who is "the best" comes up again - "imagine if he'd played a full career what his stats would have been, there would have been no question of who was #1". But the fact is that he played for almost 12 years and put up close to 1000 points from the blueline; if you discount the last two years, the most games he missed due to injury were in fact at the beginning of his career (I think his second year was the worst). As you say, he did enough in that time to justify his reputation, it doesn't need to be extrapolated.