Bobby Orr is recognized by many as one of the best to ever play the game, if not the best. He revolutionized the role of the offensive defenseman, won two Stanley Cups with the Boston Bruins, and did it all before injuries ended his career at age 31.
Orr's career, while spectacular, was quite short. He played in 12 seasons, with the final three dramatically shortened by injury. But when healthy, Orr was a regular fixture in the All-Star Game, playing in seven between 1968 and 1975. Orr won eight consecutive Norris Trophies, three consecutive Hart Trophies, two Art Ross Trophies, and led the league in plus/minus six times. Amidst all that brilliance were some pretty impressive All-Star Games as well.
1968 All-Star Game: Bobby Orr makes his first career All-Star appearance in his second professional season. After scoring 41 points in 61 games during his rookie season, Orr’s offensive trajectory continued to spike upwards with 31 points in only 46 games in his second season. Two months before his 20th birthday, Orr was not only an All-Star, but named a Second-Team All Star. The two defenseman to beat him out for First-Team honors were Hall of Famers Harry Howell of the Rangers and Pierre Pilote of the Blackhawks. Orr had a secondary assist on the game’s final goal midway throught he third period. Shortly after, Orr was on the wrong end of a hit from Pete Stemkowski and suffered a broken collarbone.
It was the final All-Star Game held at Maple Leafs Gardens, and the final time the NHL would use the format pitting the previous year’s cup champion against the All-Stars.
1972 All-Star Game: Orr made the All-Star game in 1969, 1970, and 1971, but he didn’t record a point in any of those contests. That included the 1971 game hosted by the Bruins at Boston Garden. But Orr was back on the score sheet in a big way at the 25th All-Star Game in 1972, earning a second assist on Phil Esposito’s power play goal in the final minute of regulation that gave the East a 3-2 win. Orr was named the MVP in the first All-Star game since 1956 that did not include Gordie Howe.
1975 All-Star Game: Orr scored 32 goals and 122 points during the 1973-74 season, but missed the All-Star game due to injury. In 1975, Orr was back in an All-Star uniform for the seventh and final time, and he scored his first All-Star goal. Orr scored the final goal of a 7-1 victory for the Wales Conference.
Orr scored 45 goals for 135 points that year, both career highs. It was also the last great season of a legendary career cut far too short. A knee injury the following year in training camp limited Orr to 10 games. He would then move on to the Blackhawks, but played only 26 games in two years and missed the entire 1977-78 season. Orr retired in 1978, after putting together one of the greatest careers in hockey history and doing most of that damage in only nine seasons.