This long-awaited book by arguably hockey’s greatest defenseman/player of all time is solid. It is not as spectacular as Orr was on the ice, but then again, how could it possibly be?
This is the man who brought offense to the defense, and gave meaning to the term “possession game.” After all, rarely did Bobby Orr lose the puck, and what he would do with it was often breath taking.
The unfortunate thing was the length of his career: 657 games, roughly the equivalent of eight NHL seasons. He turned in six seasons with more than 100 points, and he took home lots of hardware.
He was the first defenseman to lead the league in scoring, and did it twice. He won the Norris Trophy as top defenseman eight times, was the Hart Trophy (MVP) three times, was playoff MVP (Conn Smythe Trophy) twice. To me, the most incredible stat you can attach to his name is the +124 he registered in 1970-71, when he also posted 102 assists!
As a hockey fan, the only time Bobby Orr ever disappointed me was in November of 1978, when he announced his retirement from the Chicago Blackhawks – just before I was to broadcast an LA Kings game in Chicago. So I never got to broadcast a game he played.
This book is not a tell-all. He does not spend a great deal of time on the man who defrauded him in his contract dealings, Alan Eagleson, writing “I didn’t want his name strung through the fabric of this book.” Orr added that Eagleson turned his trust into “something foul and regrettable.”
Orr gives all the background of his childhood in Parry Sound, Ontario (also the hometown of Predators’ broadcaster Terry Crisp) and his recruitment by Wren Blair and the Boston Bruins at an extremely young age.
His feelings for his teammates are made clear, and his thrill of being part of something special with the late-1960’s and early 1970’s Bruins are evident.
The theme that continuously appears is his passion for hockey and how he is grateful for the people who allowed him to play it the way he enjoyed it most. He took the chances that yielded spectacular results. There was nothing conservative about his game.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is “State of the Game.” Orr doesn’t like the changes that have made defensemen targets of forecheckers today, bearing down on the defensemen as they retrieve the puck and nailing them. He expresses his opinions on how youngsters should play and develop their games – and a great deal of that involves parental involvement.
Because the insights in this book are from (at the least) one of the greatest players or defensemen to ever play the game, it is worthy reading. If you have a great hockey fan on your holiday gift list, I whole-heartedly recommend it.
Purchase "Orr: My Story" here.