Orr v. Gretzky (Part 2)
Although I can't believe that this is still going, please continue here.
Please start breaking some new ground in the conversation.
Aside from his stellar defensive play, Orr was also the best offensive player on the ice, the straw that stirs the drink for the Bruins. Even the very best goalies on the planet, playing behind tough, defensive teams, couldn't slow Bobby down.
The top goalies in Orr's day were Ed Giacoman, Tony Esposito, Ken Dryden and Bernie Parent. These four (with one exception, Plante in '70-71) had a monopoly on the 1st and 2nd All-Star teams during Orr's peak from '69-70 to '74-75. So how did Orr do against them in the playoffs?
1970: 4.33 games, 7G, 2A, 9Pts
1972: 3 games, 3G, 2A, 5Pts
1973: 4.33 games, 1G, 1A. 2Pts
total: 12.33 games, 11G, 5A, 16Pts
1971: 7 games, 5G, 7A, 12Pts
1970: 4 games, 1G, 4A, 5Pts
1974: 6 games, 0G, 7A, 7Pts
1975: 3 games, 1G, 5A, 6Pts
total: 13 games, 2G, 16A, 18Pts
1972: 4 games, 1G, 6A, 7Pts
1974: 6 games, 3G, 4A, 7Pts
total: 10 games, 4G, 10A, 14Pts
In total: In 42.33 games against the top four goalies of his era, in playoff hockey, Orr had 22G, 38A, 60Pts. That translates to 42G and 72A for 114 points over an 80 game schedule. And he was a defenseman!
And look at the incredible GAA of these guys, in chronological order:
1970: Giacoman: 2.36
1970: Esposito: 2.17
1971: n/a (Dryden was a playoff call-up... who won the Conn Smythe Trophy)
1972: Parent: 2.56
1972: Giacoman: 2.70
1973: Giacoman: 2.91
1974: Esposito: 2.04
1974: Parent: 1.89
1975: Esposito: 2.74
I'd say a defenseman scoring at the equivalent rate of a 42 goal season against nothing but 1st and 2nd Team All-Star goalies with microscopic GAAs in tough, playoff hockey is more than just great... it's bloody incredible!
Look, it's not that Orr only opened up the NHL game, he opened up the game around the world. It's not like the Euro teams had rushing Dmen before Orr came along either.
Even the evolution of the Euro game was due to Orr, previous to him they played with more motion, their circling style but it was only with their forwards.
Once Orr came along, they started activating their defense as well and they started circling the same as the forwards eventually evolving into the 5 man units that teams like the Russians became famous for.
So while yes the NHL was influenced by the European styles and players that made their way over, it was an Orr influenced Euro style in the first place.
League scoring wouldn't of been to the level is was at yet either and a run and gun transition game would of still been a pipe dream that people didn't think you could win with.
Also, the Habs of any era prided themselves on playing solid defense no matter how many goals they could score, definitely not something Sather was concerned with.
The style Sather did pick was a combo of Euro style Sather saw employed by the Jets and the run and gun of the early 70's Bruins and as I have already pointed out, both were products of Orr's revolutionary influence.
Many players left their mark on the game but the bottom line is none hold a candle to the level Orr did.
This isn't my opinion either, that's a well documented fact.
If only they could've played against eachother in their primes...
Something else you may wanna check out, take a little peek at Sather's playing career, most notably his first 3 seasons, you're in for a bit of a surprise :amazed:
Just for ****s and giggles....
If you read my post I said he modelled them not just for their style but their model of success from managemtn down to the trainer it was all about the team. He wanted a team that would put the team first. As far as style of play. He wanted a team that could use transition. The minute the defence got the puck he wanted it out of his zone. Like the Montreal Canadiens. He knew what the Jets were doing too with the European influence and used that as his model as well.
When the Oilers first joined the league they played positional hockey like the MOntreal Canadiens. Trying to make break out passes to forwards and always be thinking of offence as soon as they got the puck. He used the European influence of passing and offensive creativity in the offensive zone. Not just dump in and chase. Now it was hard thos first years as the OIlers were pretty young especially what would turn out to be their chore players.
By 1982 the Oilers were playing a wide open game. Trading chances with the oppoisiton but it was not run and gun. Although I might be misunderstanding you but to me run and gun is having a person skate with the puck and make decisions on the fly like Bobby Orr. The Oilers allowed creativity from Paul Coffey but even he complained that Sather would not allow him to do as much as he wished. It was common knowledge that Sather allowed Gretzky the freedom to do anything he wanted on the ice, yet with Coffey he held him back. This caused alot of problems between them two and even Gretzky has said this as well
THe oilers were more about passing out of the zone. Yes Coffey did do end to end rushes but it was more about that first pass. The Oilers would make crisp passes like the European style of play. This was not about Bobby Orr. Not once I have I ever heard Glenn Sather say that he wanted the OIlers to play like the Bruins. Not once did I hear Europeans say that they designed their style of play after Bobby Orr. The only comparison to the Bruins and the Oilers was that both teams had what was at the time the one true offensive defenceman that could do things that no other defenceman could do, or at least not as good. That was it. Now did Bobby Orr re-invent the role of a defenceman? Yes! There is no question about that
I am sorry but if you are suggesting that the Europeans modelled their play after Bobby Orr you are mistaken. First of all their are only a handful of defenceman that could even remotely do what Orr did. So trying to emulate that would be true failure. I mean could you imagine a team asking Brad Marsh to do what Orr did, and demand the team to play lilke that. They would lose. In Europe they always played a different style then in the NHL. The Soviet Union did not change after '72. I think you are giving too much to credit to Orr for saying that Europeans all changed their style of play because of Orr. Also every great player that comes around like Orr, there are players who later come out and play is style. I mean Coffey, Murphy, Housley, Brian Leetch played kind of like a Orr. So yes if you have one of these players on your team you will allow them some flexibility then other defenceman. Just like when Lafleur came around. Their were alot of players later on that played his style. I mean you could look at Stephane Richer and say in some ways he played a little like Lafleur. That always happens but teams do not change their style of play because of one player. They try to figure out ways to stop them, or limit what they do.
SO no player left his mark on the game like Orr did eh? Really? So Ted Lindsay helping create the union was not even close to how Orr changed the game. I am not knocking Orr but no player in the history of the NHL left more of a mark on the NHL or changed more then Maurice Richard. Ask any person alive living in Montreal at the time. With all due respect to you and Orr to say no player holds a candle to what Orr did and the mark he left on the game. Have no clue what you are talking about. I think Gretzky left a big mark on this game for sure and so did guys like Gordie Howe but nothing to the extent of Richard. You can have the opinion that Orr left more of a mark then Gretzky that is an opinion that many share. However what you wrote is ignorant to what Richard did. He did more for the game and meant more to city and province and even some in the country then Bobby ever dreamed off. Once again not knocking Orr just a fact.
Sorry man, you lost all credibility right there.
The powerhouse Habs in the late 70's under Bowman most definitely played a trap.
In fact, it was the first time a trapping system was fully used at the NHL level.
Look it up son, it's a documented fact.
For the rest of your post...if you honestly can't understand how the advent of the rushing dman affected hockey throughout the entire world and was by far the biggest building block in the offensively themed styles in the 80's then I'm thinking it's time to have your eyes checked.
Not saying that he had the same influence as Orr, but still...
Do you have any quotes, links etc. that would back this all up, or is it just your interpretation of [hockey] history???
Well, considering Suchy was generally referred to as the European Bobby Orr.....kinda speaks for itself and for the record, Suchy's defensive play was no where near the level of Orr's.
As far as quotes and documentation of the Euro circling style, I'll get back to you on that but in the mean time you can watch the movie Miracle, they do a pretty good job of recreating Brooks' breakdown of it all.
Unless you're asking me to provide proof of how Orr not only opened the NHL game but also the European game, that might be a little tougher to find as I don't read Russian.
No one can change any one's mind on who was better if it is what they believe. However the problem is it seems that a lot on here think that Bobby Orr was so much better then Gretzky. Evertyhing I hear is usually the same. Either it is that Bobby Orr changed the game that makes him way better. Orr re invented teh role of a defenceman. In his prime no one could even compare to him as far as talent. It is because he hit people or blocked shots. He outscored every other defenceman and no one could come close to him. Then I hear that for Gretzky his stats were inflated because of the 80's. He never did anything else but play offensive hockey. He would not back check or hit. The best way to compare them is to look what they did against their peers. I took the first 9 years of Bobby Orr's career. 1966-67 to 1974-75. Everyone talks about how great Orr was which he was but only want to talk about prime years. It is a whole career that matters not just a peak. However Orr was injured and almost useless as a player by the 1975-76 season because of his knees. Let's look at Bobby Orr vs other defenceman per year.
Now Stats are not the whole story as their is more then just stats but Orr was the best offensive defenceman ever so let's just look at the numbers
1966-67 Goals (3)Orr 13 (1) Reggie Fleming 15
Assists (5) Orr 28 (1) Pierre Pilote 46
Points (2) Orr 41 (1) Pierre Pilote 52
1967-68 Goals (6) Orr 11 (1) Reggie Fleming 17
Assists (19) Orr 20 (1) Pierre Pilote 36
Points(12) Orr 31 (1) Mike McMahon 47
1968-1969 Goals (1) Orr 21 (2) Ed Westfall 18
Assists (2) Orr 43(1) Pat Stapleton 50
Points (1) Orr 64 (2) Pat Stapleton 56
1969-70 Goals (1) Orr 33 (2) Carol Vadnais 24
Assists (1) Orr 87(2) Pat Stapleton 38
Points (1) Orr 120(2) Carol Vadnais 44
1970-1971 Goals (1) Orr 37 (2) Ed Westfall 25
Assists (1) Orr 102(2) Ed Westfall 34
Points (1) Orr 139 (2) Ed Westfall 59
1971-1972 Goals (1) Orr 37 (2) Brad Park 24
Assists (1) Orr 80 (2) J. C Tremblay 51
Points (1) Orr 117(2) Brad Park 73
1972-1973 Goals (1) Orr 29 (2) Guy Lapointe 19
Assists (1) Orr 72 (2) Brad Park 43
Points (1) Orr 121 (2) Guy Lapointe 54
1973-1974 Goals (1) Orr 32(2) Brad Park 25
Assists (1) Orr 90(2) Brad Park 57
Points (1) Orr 122(2) Brad Park 82
1974-1975 Goals (1) Orr 46 (2) Guy Lapointe 28
Assists (1) Orr 89 (2) Carol Vardnais 56
Points (1) Orr 135 (2) Denis Potvin 76
Total Goals (1) Orr 259 (2) Ed Westfall 157
Assists (1) Orr 611 (2) Brad Park 252
Points (1) Orr 870 (2) Ed Westfall 396
As for goals he never had more then 12 goals more then his nearest competition
For 6 years had more assists then the 2nd place in points
As far as points. He beat his closest competitor by a minum of 40 points and as high as 80 points. However look at the names he is competing against not house hold names to alot of people especially those that were not around then and Except for Brad Park and Denis Potvin not many I have seen talked about as the all time greats
Now lets look at Gretzky vs other Centers
Goals (2) Gretzky 51 (1) Dionne 53
Assists (1) Gretzky 86 (2) Dionne 84
Points (2) Gretzky 137 (1) Dionne 137
Goals (2) Gretzky 55 (1) Dionne 58
Assists (1) Gretzky 109 (2) Kent Nilsson 82
Points (1) Gretzky 164 (2) Marcel Dionne 135
Goals (1) Gretzky 92 (2) Dennis Maruk 60
Assists (1) Gretzky 120 (2) Peter Statsny 93
Points (1) Gretzky 212 (2) Peter Statsny 136
Goals (1) Gretzky 71 (2) Marcel Dionne 56
Assists (1) Gretzky 125 (2) Denis Savard 86
Points (1) Gretzky 196 (2) Peter Statsny 124
Goals (1) Gretzky 87 (2) Mike Bullard 51
Assists (1) Gretzky 118 (2) Barry Pederson 77
Points (1) Gretzky 205 (2) Peter Statsny 119
Goals (1) Gretzky 73 (2) Dale Hawerchuk 53
Assists (1) Gretzky 135 (2) Marcel Dionne 80
Points (1) Gretzky 208 (2) Dale Hawerchuk 130
Goals (1) Gretzky 52 (2) Mario Lemieux 48
Assists (1) Gretzky 163 (2) Mario Lemieux 93
Points (1) Gretzky 215 (2) Mario Lemieux 141
Goals (1) Gretzky 62 (2) Mario Lemieux 54
Assists (1) Gretzky 121 (2) Bryan Trottier 64
Points (1) Gretzky 183 (2) Mario Lemieux 107
Goals (12) Gretzky 40 (1) Mario Lemieux 70
Assists (1) Gretzky 109 (2) Mario Lemieux 98
Points (2) Gretzky 149 (1) Mario Lemieux 168
Goals (1) Gretzky 583 (2) Marcel Dionne 397
Assists (1) Gretzky 1086 (2) Peter Statsny 580
Points (1) Gretzky 1669 (2) Marcel Dionne 957
Twice he outscored his nearest competition by over 30 goals
4 times he had more assists then the nearest center had points and he did it against HHOF Lemieux,Hawerchuk and Peter Statsny
6 times he out pointed the next center by 70 points once again all are HHOF players.
He has more assists in these 9 years then Marcel Dionne has points. Marcel Dionne not just any Center but one of the best regualr season centers of all time. A total of over 600 points over him. That is pure domination when you consider how good Dionne was.
Now if you look at the playoffs. Which of course are more important. As it is where the best play the best. I know that sometimes not going far can really alter the scoring leaders but here it is anyway
Goals (-) Orr 0 (1) Doug Jarret 4
Assists (18) Orr 2 (1) Mike McMahon 7
Points (29) Orr 2 (1) Mike McMahon 10
Goals (17) Orr 1 (1) Serge Savard 4
Assists (T1) Orr 7 (T1) Ted Green 7
Points (4) Orr 8 (1) Serge Savard 10
Goals (1) Orr 9 (2) Ed Westfall 3
Assists (1) Orr 11 (2) Jean Guy Talbot 6
Points (1) Orr 20 (2) Ed Westfall 8
Goals (1) Orr 5 (2) Guy Lapointe 4
Assists(4) Orr 7 (1) Pat Stapleton 14
Points (4) Orr 12 (1) J.C Tremblay 17
Goals (1) Orr 5 (2) Ed Westfall 4
Assists (1) Orr 19 (2) Brad Park 7
Points (1) Orr 24 (2) Brad Park 11
Goals (9) Orr 1 (1) Guy Lapointe 6
Assists (35) Orr 1 (1) Pat Stapleton 15
Points (21) Orr 2 (1) Pat Stapleton 17
Goals (T1) Orr 4 (T1) Brad Park 4
Assists (1) Orr 14 (2) Carol Vadnais 12
Points (1) Orr 18 (2) Carol Vadnais 13
Goals (25) Orr 1 (1) Guy Lapointe 6
Assists (8) Orr 5 (1) Ed Westfall 10
Points (10) Orr 6 (1) Ed Westfall 15
Goals (1) Orr 26 (2) Ed Westfall 18
Assists (1) Orr 66 (2) Pat Stapleton 35
Points (1) Orr 92 (2) Ed Westfall 42
For the 8 years he made the playoffs only 8 more goals then Westfall
He had more assists then Westfall had points
50 more points then Westfall
As far as playoffs he was not as dominating as in the regular season and had a few years where he did not do much, like 73,75 Only 2 if I am not mistaken are in the HHOF
Now lets look at Gretzky
Goals (19) Gretzky 2 (1) Bryan Trottier 12
Assists ((53) Gretzky 1 (1) Ken Linesman 18
Points (31) Gretzky 3 (1) Bryan Trottier 29
Goals (8) Gretzky 7 (1) Bryan Trottier 11
Assists (6) Gretzky 14 (1) Bryan Trottier 18
Points (3) Gretzky 21 (1) Bryan Trottier 29
Goals (16) Gretzky 5 (1) Denis Savard 11
Assists (11) Gretzky 7 (1) Bryant Trottier 23
Points (11) Gretzky 12 (1) Bryan Trottier 29
Goals (2) Gretzky 12 (1) Barry Pederson 14
Assists (1) Gretzky 26 (2) Bob Bourne 20
Points (1) Gretzky 38 (2) Barry Pederson 32
Goals (1) Gretzky 13 (2) Ken Linesman 10
Assists (1) Gretzky 22 (2) Mark Messier 18
Points (1) Gretzky 35 (2) Mark Messier 26
Goals (1) Gretzky 17 (2) Mark Messier 12
Assists (1) Gretzky 30 (1) Denis Savard 20
Points (1) Gretzky 47 (2) Denis Savard 29
Goals (2) Gretzky 8 (1) Doug Gilmour 9
Assists (3) Gretzky 11 (1) Bernie Federko 14
Points (3) Gretzky 19 (1) Doug Gilmour 21
Goals (7) Gretzky 5 (2) Bobby Smith 9
Assists (1) Gretzky 29 (2) Pelle Eklund 20
Points (1) Gretzky 34 (2) Pelle Eklund 27
Goals (1) Gretzky 12 (2) Mark Messier 11
Assists (1) Gretzky 31 (2) Mark Messier 23
Points (1) Gretzky 43 (2) Mark Messier 34
Goals (1) Gretzky 81 (2) Mark Messier 66
Assists (1) Gretzky 171 (2) Mark Messier 91
Points (1) Gretzky 252 (2) Mark Messier 157
Twice Gretzky had more assists then the next guy had points
Except for his first year had at least 10 points in the first round when losing
In 81 and 86 only playing 2 rounds was only 8 and 2 points from the leader
All but four of the guys who were ahead of him or right behind him were HHOF
Just like Orr has more assists then the nearest center has point and beat him by 95 points
The reason I posted this is not to try and point at stats and say that Gretzky is better because of this just that as dominating as Orr was against his pears Gretzky was just as dominant against his pears dare I say more.
Gretzky dominated the game like no other center just like Orr did it has a defenceman. I am just tired of a lot on here making it sound like Gretzky is so far away from Orr because Orr dominated his pears so badly. When I look at the top defenceman that he went up against of course he dominated them they were not offensive defenceman per say like him. When Gretzky was dominating he was doing it against some of the greatest players to ever play the position. That means alot to me.
Like I said by no means does this put Gretzky over the top because it is just stats but it can't be denied that by points alone and dominance over their pears statistically Gretzky was the better of the two
The trap is a modification of the approach to team defense(old 1/2/2) that goes back to the 1950's Canadiens and Toe Blake. Bowman, Lemaire and others adapted team defenses to reflect eras where defensemen rushed and the backhand pass had virtually disappeared.
As far as the Soviets go, IMO it was basically only Vyacheslav Fetisov, who could have been called a '4th forward' in a Bobby Orr-esque way, though I do think that Soviet defensemen generally got a little more offensive.
I can only speak for myself but I have said many times in these threads that I rank Orr and Gretzky in the same breath with the edge for me going to Orr.
Hell, the last dozen or more posts have been about arguing against, belittling and trying to take away from the enormous effect Orr had on the game of hockey, not who was better between him and Gretzky.
The biggest thing that I have noticed through these threads is that very few Orr supporters are taking shots at Gretzky or taking away from the offensive magic he provided but there sure are a lot of Gretzky supporters willing to take shots or belittle Orr's accomplishments.
Unless of course you consider my statement saying that Gretzky wouldn't of scored quite as much without the opening of the game by Orr over a decade previous to be some kind of slight on Gretzky.
To me, it's just simple logic in how the game evolved and exactly what style of game was possible when Gretzky arrived on the scene.
Take my opinion how you want but hey, I think it makes sense.
The advent of the rushing defenceman did change the way people looked at that position. Yes every team in the world wished they had a defenceman like Orr but they do not grow on trees. Teams used what Bobby Orr did and introduced other ways to utilise the defenceman according to their talents. In the 70's players like Brad Park and Denis Potvin were encouraged to rush the puck, becuase they had talent however to say that every strategy used by teams and countries as to do with Bobby Orr is wrong. Their are many strategies used in hockey and not all of them center around a rushing defenceman. So I am sorry if I do not share your belief that every single European team changed their whole programs because of Bobby Orr.
The biggest theme in the 80's was simply this. Let talented players be creative no matter how they want to be. Everything influences a decade. When the Flyers were winning their cups some teams felt it was toughness that would win a cup. There were not alot of teams that played like the Oilers in the 80's. Some tried but failed as a matter of fact only the Oilers were successful in the wide open style. Teams were not all wide open because they did not have the team to play like that. The 1980's were not just about wide open hockey their were very good defensive teams too. All around teams. THe Islanders were an all round team. The Flames were an all round team. The Canadiens were more defensive. Only in the 90's did a team like the Oilers win and that was the Penguins and why were they able to. They had the talent that could win playing that style.
Take off your Bobby Orr glasses. I have never once said he did not re invent the position. I never once said that people looked at rushing defenceman differently after him. What I have been saying and once again is that it was not Bobby Orr that changed everything in hockey. He does not deserve credit for the Oilers, The Soviet Union Red Army team, The style that Sweden played for many years or that defensive system the Czech Rep. played for many years. He does not deserve credit for the New Jersey devils style of play. It seems you are saying that once Orr came around every single team in the world changed that moment to emulate Orr. That is just not true.
I do not think anyone should take shots at either player for they are both great and the minute one trying to belittle the other then it makes ones argument invalid. The only thing though is to not overstate ones attributes and make claims that are hard to prove
Yes the games evolved and it always evolves because of players that changed the game. Even today players that probably should not even be mentioned in the same breath of Orr as far as talent are changing the game. I just do not believe that one player changed everything that is all. Not Gretzky not even Orr. Now I will admit that Orr made everyone aware of defencmean and that changed the game alot more then the way Gretzky played center. I just have a problem with giving Orr credit for everything that happened in the world of hockey since he started
The "Trap" is only a bad word because of the uber conservative way it was employed in conjunction with the ridiculous hooking and holding in the dead puck era.
The "trap" in it's purest form is nothing more than a system designed to generate turn overs in the neutral zone and provide instant counter attack opportunities.
Anyway...back to Orr.
Is it really that hard to believe that Orr changed the way the role of the Dman was viewed around the world?
Is it then that hard to believe that Orr's opening up of the game provided the building blocks for the offensive play that was so dominant in the 80's?
Am I really making a stretch here.....doubtful.
I mean hell, people smarter and more knowledgeable on hockey than you or I credit Orr with revolutionizing and opening up the game as it is today....I'm certainly not going to argue with them ;)
And who is responsible for that change? Bobby Orr!
Really it is a hybrid of the two types that we see now.
It was not only Bobby Orr. He was just the biggest influence over here until the Summit Series and Canada Cups exposed our hockey coaches and players to another style of play.
Nikolai Sologubov and Others
Regardless, other than Bobby Orr none of the various rushing NHL or international defensmen were offensive leaders. Coffey came close but the rushing defenseman, other than Bobby Orr, played a supporting offensive role in all instances.
Reg Fleming and Ed Westfall were wingers, not defensemen. Ed Westfall began as a Dman, but moved up front. He occasionally played D if needed, but he was a fixture at RW on the Bruins checking line and top PK unit with Derek Sanderson. This changes your numbers substantially. For instance, the runner up to Orr for goals in 70-71 was Guy Lapointe, with 15 (as compared to Westfall with 25). And J.C. Tremblay was the runner up in assists, with 52 (followed by Stapleton with 51), both of whom had more than Westfall's 34. You should re-do those total numbers, as they are misleading.
Why do you have such a dim view of Orr's contemporaries on defense? Potvin, Park, Savard, Lapointe, Salming, Robinson, Tremblay, Horton... these guys were great, great players.
And lets not forget that Orr consistently outscored an amazing collection of all-time great forwards such as Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Marcel Dionne, Guy Lafleur, Bobby Clarke, Gilbert Perreault, Frank Mahovlich, Jean Ratelle and Johnny Bucyk.
Oh yeah... he did this even though he was a defenseman!
None of the above outscored Orr during his peak. Look at the scoring leaders from '70-75:
69-70: Orr 120, Esposito 99
70-71: Esposito 152, Orr 139
71-72: Esposito 133, Orr 117
72-73: Esposito 130, Clarke 104, Orr 101 (when Orr missed 15 games due to knee surgery)
73-74: Esposito 145, Orr 122
74-75: Orr 135, Esposito 127
The only player who ever actually outscored Orr was his teammate, Phil Esposito. And it was Orr, not Espo, who was the architect of the Bruins offense. As Jean Beliveau said:
"When the Bruins faced off in our zone, it didn't matter who they had up front - Esposito, Hodge, Cashman, Bucyk or McKenzie. How we lined up was dictated by one factor, the position of Bobby Orr. When the puck was dropped, everyone's attention was divided, with nervous glances in Orr's direction predominating."
-from Blades on Ice; pg 124-125
Beliveau's observation is confirmed when we look at the dramatic drop-off in Espo's point-per-game production after he got traded to the Rangers, and away from Orr:
72-73: 78 games, 55G, 75A, 130Pts for 1.67 points/game
73-74: 78 games, 68G, 77A, 145Pts for 1.86 points/game
74-75: 79 games, 61G, 66A, 127Pts for 1.61 points/game
-traded to the Rangers-
75-76: 62 games, 29G, 38A, 67Pts for 1.08 points/game
76-77: 80 games, 34G, 46A, 80Pts for 1.00 points/game
Everybody knows about Gretzky's scoring exploits. He was out of this world.
But Orr's numbers from the blueline are, in their own way, every bit as astonishing as Gretzky's. He left his fellow blueliners so far behind it's laughable. Not only that, he outscored all those HOF forwards too - except Espo, who was reduced to a mere mortal without him. And Orr put up all those incredible, record-obliterating numbers without abandoning his defensive responsiblities.
What Orr did was change the view of what a Dman's role could be.
The most important thing he showed was that he could be successful at being a great offensive threat while maintaining a high level of defensive play at the same time.
That's the key here, it's not like there hadn't been rushing type dmen before but they either played offense or defense and were never able to blend the two and prove that it could work.
Changing the idea in every coaches head around the world that activating their dmen could help more than it could hurt, that's what Orr did.
Even in '72 the Russians didn't activate their D, yet by '76 it was sometimes hard to tell who played what with them. Watch the '72 Summit series DVD's if you don't believe me, the Russian D seemed to have this invisible line that they wouldn't cross.
Coincidence....I don't think so.
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