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08-24-2010, 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by greatgazoo View Post
If Orr was the best then why did this panel select Gretzky as number one in 1998?

The judges involved in making the selections for this list included writers, journalists, and broadcasters (Don Cherry, John Davidson, Milt Dunnell, Stan Fischler, Dick Irvin, Brian McFarlane, Bob McKenzie, Jim Matheson, Harry Neale, Frank Orr), as well as coaches, referees, general managers, and former players (Al Arbour, Scotty Bowman, Emile Francis, Howie Meeker, Scotty Morrison, Roger Neilson, Bud Poile, Sam Pollock, Marcel Pronovost, Billy Reay, Glen Sather, Harry Sinden, Red Storey).

Can anyone explain why a panel loaded with such hockey expertise would choose Gretzky over Orr?
Compliments of bleeney from part 1 of this thread.

Originally posted by bleeney
Are you aware of how close that poll was?

Gretzky: 2,726 voting points
Orr had: 2,713 voting points
Howe: 2,681 points

Both Orr and Gretzky had 18 first-place votes (out of a possible 50). The difference between Orr and Gretzky came down to just 13 points, a difference of less than half of one per cent.

And speaking of biased opinions, there was one member of that panel who, I believe, let his personal dislike of Orr cloud his judgement and lose all objectivity: Stan Fischler.

Even though I obviously disagree, I understand why some pick Gretzky or Howe over Orr. Likewise, most Gretzky fans would disagree, but understand why some would pick Orr or Howe over Gretzky. But if someone were to submit a top five list, and not even have Gretzky on it, most of us would be stunned.

But Fischler did that to Orr? And here's why:

In 1969 he wrote Bobby Orr and the Big Bad Bruins, which is practically a work of adoration towards Orr. The inside cover reads:
THE BIG BAD BRUINS-Led by the Greatest Ever.
He goes on to praise Orr as the greatest thing since sliced bread, comparing him favourably to Howe, Shore, Harvey, Richard. It's a fantastic book, one that I have read several times.

But Orr took offense to his name being used without his permission, and confronted Fischler. At one point he actually contemplated a lawsuit (it may sound petty, but Orr was an Eagleson client, at a time when players were just beginning to realise their rights and the money that could be made through endorsements). Fischler was shocked. This was unheard of at the time, and was the beginning of a long feud between Orr and Fischler, one that to my knowledge has never ended. Almost immediately Fischler became highly critical of Orr, to the point of being ridiculous. How ridiculous?

In his book All-Time Book of Hockey Lists, on pg 71-72 he lists "The 100 Best Players of All Time". He had Gretzky ranked third, behind Howe and Lemieux. Okay. But unbelievably, he ranked Orr #14! He went from fawning over Orr like a smitten schoolgirl, calling him the "greatest ever", to dropping him all the way down to 14th. This was a feud, and it looks like Fischler got the last shot in.

As I said, he lost all objectivity when it came to Bobby Orr, and it had nothing to do with Orr as a player. It was personal. Not including Orr in his top five cost Orr votes.

Can you say margin of victory?

Last edited by Rhiessan71: 08-24-2010 at 03:38 AM.
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