Saturday, March 7, 2009

You had to be better than you'd ever been

Until I read this article, I didn't realize just how great Hall of Famer Bobby Orr was.

An eight-time first-team NHL All-Star, Orr was voted the league's best defensive player eight times.

In 1969-70, "Orr became the only player to sweep the league's top awards — MVP, defenseman, playoff MVP and scoring title — and capped it off by scoring the Stanley Cup -- winning goal over St. Louis in overtime."

Despite his dominance on the ice, "Orr bristled at the attentions of superstardom." According to this article, during the 1974-75 season, "he scored 46 goals but probably gave away a half dozen more by insisting that teammates had deflected the puck in."

One of Orr's former teammates says that Orr "brought others with him; he wanted them involved."

"That's what made him so different: It felt like a five-player stampede moving toward you—and at his pace. He pushed his teammates, [because] you're playing with the best player in the league and he's giving you the puck and you just can't mess it up. You had to be better than you'd ever been."