Every now and again we like to try something new here at Bruins Daily, and today just happens to be one of those days.
By now, many of you are aware of Throwback Thursday on social media, mainly on Twitter and Instagram. Inspired by that trend, and a 66th birthday of a certain Bruins legend who has his own flying statue at TD Garden, we thought this would be a perfect time to debut this weekly piece.
So without further adieu, our first Throwback Thursday Top 10 features the man, the myth, the legend, the greatest, No. 4, Bobby Orr!
10. Signing with the Bruins at age 16
The fallout between Orr and his agent, Alan Eagleson, is well documented. After all, it was Eagleson who orchestrated a deal to have Orr sign with the Blackhawks as a free agent in the summer of 1976.
Still, Eagleson, who has been barred from the Hockey Hall of Fame and served time in prison for fraud and embezzlement, was instrumental in negotiating Orr’s first contract with the Bruins at age 16. While initially wanting an offer of $100,000, Orr wound up signing for less than that – a figure that still hasn’t been revealed – and a $25,000 signing bonus.
After signing the contract in 1966, Orr joined the Big Bad Bruins two years later.
9. Orr’s second season
Despite a 17-46-10 record in his rookie season, Orr earned the respect from his teammates, coaches and The Hub of Hockey finishing with 41 points (13 goals, 28 assists) and 102 penalty minutes.
The next season, Orr only played in 46 games where he tallied 11 goals and 20 assists. Still it was good enough to land him his first of an astonishing eight consecutive Norris Trophies – a record that still exists today – and helped the Black and Gold record their first playoff appearance since the 1958-59 season.
It may not have been his best season statistically, but with Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Derek Sanderson joining the team that same season – just to name a few – the best was yet to come.
8. Contributions off the ice
As good as Orr was on the ice, his contributions to the community off the ice were just as impressive.
Although rarely publicized, Orr was a frequent visitor at Boston Children’s Hospital during his playing career and was involved in several fundraising events for charity. Shortly after he hung up his skates for good, the Multiple Sclerosis Society named Orr a recipient of the Multiple Sclerosis Silver Hope Chest Award for his off-ice contributions.
Another example of how hockey players and certainly many other athletes can easily put their egos aside and go out of their way to put a smile on peoples faces away from the spotlight.
7. Orr and the Bruins win their second Stanley Cup in three years
Following an early exit to the hated Montreal Canadiens in 1970-71, the Bruins were out looking for revenge. They did not meet their arch-rivals at all during the playoffs, but they did get back to the Final against the Rangers and defeated them in six games for their second Cup in three years.
Orr had a stellar season posting 117 points in 76 games en route to his fifth straight Norris Trophy and third consecutive Hart Trophy. He added 24 points in the playoffs and was named the Conn Smythe winner for the second time in his career.
6. 1970-71 season
This very well may be the best team that never won a Stanley Cup.
The Bruins shattered every offensive record a year after capturing their first taste of Lord’s Stanley in 29 years. Many in The Hub thought the B’s were well on their way for another summer with Stanley the next year and Orr was shattering records himself. His plus-124 that year is still a record and his 139 points is still a single season record among defenseman.
Ultimately, the Bruins bowed out early in the playoffs against a young Ken Dryden and the hated Habs. But Orr and the rest of the Big Bad Bruins got to kiss the Cup the next season.
5. 1976 Canada Cup
Four years prior to the first Canada Cup, Paul Henderson etched his name into Canadian hockey lore with his goal in the last minute of the 1972 Summit Series to defeat the Soviet Union.
Another Summit Series came and went in 1974 and by 1976, Eagelson, who was the Executive Director of the NHLPA, helped negotiate a deal to create a tournament with the Soviets and the rest of the European Nations, thus creating the first “Canada Cup”.
Orr, who skipped out on the famous ’72 Summit Series, skated in his first international competition four years later. The results? Two goals, seven assists en route to becoming the Most Valuable Player of the tournament helping Canada capture the gold.
4. The innovator
Prior to Orr, defensemen were often known for staying back and not jumping into the play in their offensive end. Orr changed all that when he decided to jump in and provide another element to the game. His end to end rushes were always a thing of beauty. His play in his own end was also something to watch.
Orr was one unique individual. And because of that, he and the Big Bad Bruins were the main attraction in the 1970’s playing to sold out crowds everywhere they went from the Boston Garden to the old Montreal Forum to Chicago Stadium to the Checkerdome in St. Louis and even The Great Western Forum right outside Los Angeles.
3. “The statue”
It took them awhile, but after the picture of his game-winner in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final (more on that later), Bobby Orr finally got his statue right outside the TD Garden on May 14, 2010.
The always humbled Orr gave thanks the only way he can.
Bonus: so did the former beloved mayor of Boston, Tom Menino
2. No. 4 goes to the rafters at the old Garden
At the youthful age of 30, the greatest defenseman who ever lived was forced to hang up the skates due to a knee injury. His memories both on and off the ice still lives on to this day.
One of those off ice moments was on January 9, 1979, when the Bruins retired the No. 4 to the rafters. But it was the 13,000-plus at the old barn who gave Orr an 11-minute standing ovation that brought him into tears. He was truly a gallery god on this night.
Honorable mention: cameo in Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Techno
Okay, maybe it should be a dishonorable mention. But still, I had to sneak this in there because it is Don Cherry in what is likely his only music video, ever.
1. “The Goal”
The moment speaks for itself.