Orr v. Gretzky (Part 2)
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08-24-2010, 12:15 AM
Just a Fool
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Guelph, Ont
Originally Posted by
Which one of you I'm talking right now?
Or did you mean the NHL in the latter case?
There are examples of more offensively orientated, rushing Dmen before Orr, I wouldn't debate that. The difference with them is like I already said, they were able to do one or the other, not both. A guy like Kelly for example, played forward half the time.
They didn't affect the game like Orr did and most importantly they weren't a factor in helping their teams win more.
In the end it doesn't matter how cool something is or how exciting it is, if you didn't win, no one was going to emulate it.
Anyway, Jan Suchy is the most famous example and certainly fits the despcription of a rushing/offensive dman who was still defensively reliable; in fact, you're the only person I've seen knocking his defensive play.
I wouldn't say I was knocking his defensive play so much as knocking it compared to the level Orr played it.
I mean, lets face facts here, Suchy was tiny, like 5'7" if I remember right and there really was only so much he could do and getting over powered one on one was not unheard of with him.
I don't know about '76, but certainly around the 1979 Challenge Cup things had changed a bit, as far as the position of a defenseman goes.
Well they had to groom them first. In '76 the Russians were definitely letting their D get involved more than in '72 but not until Fetisov arrived and made it possible to really put pen to paper so to speak.
And hey, I'm not totally against the idea, but it would be interesting to see some quotes by Russians themselves where they acknowledge this. In any case, I believe that Orr influenced them indirectly rather than directly; it was North American style in general that was a big influence on the Soviet game (post 1972) and vice versa.
Oh, for sure, there were definitely things that both sides took from each other over the years. The biggest difference though, as I already noted earlier, is that the Europeans were much more ready and willing to adapt and experiment with incorporating North American aspects to their game than vice versa.
Call it stubbornness or call it a arrogance after winning in '72 and '76, either way, the NHL didn't feel the need to improve like the Europeans did.
Not to the degree the Euro's did anyway because it's not like the Russians in '72 didn't open more than a few eyes obviously or in some cases down right scared the crap out of people with their skating, co-ordination and conditioning.
Last edited by Rhiessan71: 08-24-2010 at
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