|Boston Bruins hockey great Bobby Orr reacts while addressing a crowd during an unveiling ceremony for a statue of Orr, left, in front of the TD Garden sports arena, in Boston, Monday, May 10, 2010. The statue depicts Orr in the defining moment when he scored in overtime in 1970 giving the Bruins victory over the St. Louis Blues to win the Stanley Cup. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) |
Among the honorees was the player that B’s fans consider the greatest ever, and the inspiration for many to do the same, Bobby Orr.
His offensive-first style was one of the reasons he was so successful as a Bruin and lead him to the Art Ross trophy in 1970 for leading the league with 33 goals and 87 assists for 120 points – making him the first defenseman in National Hockey League history to break the 100 point barrier.
“Obviously I played a style that really wasn’t promoted or accepted by many coaches,” said Orr. “My teammates understood me very quickly.”
Orr is quick to give his teammates credit for allowing him to play such an aggressive style, saying they were always there to cover him – even if he likes to kid with them as they reminisce.
“Most of them weren’t bad but some of the forwards skating backwards, they looked a little funny some nights covering for me,” he said with a laugh and smile. “They understood how I played and they were very good about it.”
Former Bruins standout Johnny “Chief” Bucyk, who still serves the B’s today as Road Services Coordinator, was one of those forwards that played alongside Orr during the magical seasons he was in Boston.
“When he made his good rushes I used to go up to the other blueline and wait for him,” Bucyk said. “I just watched him come up the ice and then I parked [myself] in front of the net and waited for him. He was unbelievable.”
Orr hopes to see another offensively-minded defenseman take control of the game in a similar way that he did.
However, he believes that the key is to allow young players the more freedom on the ice.
“I just wish today with our kids [that coaches] would let them go,” said Orr. “If you have a young defenseman that can skate, let him go.
“Let’s let our kids play and maybe we’ll find some more offensive minded defensemen.”
Orr, Bucyk and their Bruins certainly brought excitement to New England. Even forty years after the Bruins historic run to the cup, Orr is still amazed at the impact the team has had on the Boston community.
“It’s wonderful to honor a group from 40 years ago,” said Orr. “It’s a nice feeling to know we haven’t been forgotten.
"It is a group that’s made an impact on the [Boston] community and on New England
“So I think it’s a wonderful tribute to a great group and a great organization.”
Orr believes that it was the team’s characters and character that had such an impact on the city.
“We had a lot of characters, we won a lot of hockey games, and there were a lot of exiting times with the team," he said.
Orr was also quick to give credit to the fans and the city and did not lose sight of the true meaning of the night – to celebrate the athletic success of a city as a whole.
“This is a special city,” said Orr. “Look around.
“I don’t know many cities that win the number of championships that Boston [has] in the different sports. This is a special place to play.
“We didn’t think of being legendary,” added Orr. “We had a lot of fun and when you win hockey games you can have a lot of fun.”-- By Brian Smith