Can you make a case for Potvin over Orr in the 1976 Canada Cup?
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11-23-2012, 02:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
It's funny, I watched this tournament in it's entirety about a month ago during one of those sad lockout weekends... and I had a similar thought - and that was Vachon for MVP over Orr. Rogie was OUTSTANDING in that series, and while he did win best Canadian, he deserved more. That was Rogie's peak. He never played better in his career than he did in that tournament.
Now that said, I also considered Potvin over Orr as well. Orr made some great plays offensively and defensively - I recall a couple fantastic stick checks when he was seemingly out of position that looked incredible. Guys back then just didn't have that second effort like they do now. Often, once you were beat, you were beat - but not Orr. Still, there were vast stretches of games that Orr wasn't noticeable in any way (not always a bad thing I guess) at all. However, Denis Potvin was unstoppable. He was a beast in his own zone. He played with so much passion. He hit EVERYONE. He was always joining the rush and contributed a ton. He definitely deserved player of the game over Orr against the Soviet Union. His overall game was prototypical "Canadian" in nature, and it paid off. He equalled Orr in points and I thought gave a better effort almost every game.
Still, Orr wasn't a terrible choice. I do believe Orr and Potvin were paired together most of the time (correct?) and having a guy like Orr allows a guy like Potvin to do what he does and vice versa. Let's also not forget that the V is for valuable, not necessarily the
player. After reading that fantastic first-person diary that Potvin wrote, it seems that Orr's presence alone lifted the Canadian team on more than one occasion. The fact that Potvin himself had so much respect for him says a lot too.
Lastly, in regards to Potvin sounding arrogant. I've often thought this every time I hear him speak (just listen to a Senators broadcast... ugh). In fairness, I often expect that from super-star players - especially if they've been able to back it up throughout their careers. He did. He was an incredible junior in Ottawa, a clear-cut HOFer in the NHL and easily one of the best players in the '76 Canada Cup. He's earned his right to boast his opinion. Does he sound a bit cocky most of the time? YES. But, so be it. He's earned it.
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