“Cold War on Ice: Summit Series” on NBCSN yesterday ... & I got to thinking with the players that were out of commission for Team Canada (#4 Bobby Orr - talking about the greatest defenseman of his era & arguably all time & I think there was 1 more that was in the documentary that I can't remember right now)
Would Russia have tied the series at all IF Bobby Orr would have played in this Series ? ... I'm not trolling honestly ... Bobby Orr, a man who could out race OR chase down just about any forward in the NHL at that time, before his knees started to give way of course
Despite his knee, Orr's performance in the Canada Cup led to him being named to the tournament All-Star team and he was named the overall MVP for the tournament. According to team-mate Bobby Clarke, Orr "would hardly be able to walk on the morning of the game. And he would hardly be able to walk in the afternoon. And then, at night, he would be the best player on one of the greatest teams ever assembled. He was the best player in every game; he was the best player in the tournament. He couldn't skate like he used to, but he could still go." According to team-mate Darryl Sittler, "Bobby Orr was better on one leg, than anybody else was on two."
Bobby Orr is the best player I have ever seen play. He would have helped Team Canada for sure. But just remember a few points.
1. Against the Soviets Orr for the first time in his career would have faced a team that could skate with him. Would he adjust - yes I think he would have. But not right away.
2. The entire Canadian team was over confident and out of shape. Could an out of shape Orr skate with the Soviets? And would Canada have been even more over confident with Orr in the lineup?
3. We forget that the Soviets were truly a great hockey team. Put them in the NHL in 1972 and once they adjust to the little ice and physical play - well outside of Boston, New York, and Montreal they would have cleaned up.
4. We also forget that the Soviets were missing stars. What if Firsov and Davidov played? What is Tarasov - one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game was still behind the Soviet bench. If he is coaching there is no way they "ease off on the gas" in Moscow thinking they had it won.
You could also toss a healthy Valeri Kharlamov into the discussion, if wading into that pool. The reality was, though, that the teams had the players they had, in the condition they were in. 'What if' is a game with no foundation but sand. What if the Canadians had a healthy Orr or a non-WHA Bobby Hull? They'd have been a stronger club. Those were two of the best players in North America of the era.
Game 1: Canada Still loses
Game 2: Canada Still Wins
Game 3: Canada Wins instead of the tie
Game 4: At best a tie, but I think the Soviets pull it out
Game 5: Canada doesn't blow a 4-1 lead to lose and win or tie. Let's call it a tie for arguments sake.
Game 6: Canada Still Wins
Game 7: Canada Still Wins
Game 8: With the series wrapped up for Canada, the Soviets manage to win
So with Orr, IMO I think Canada wins the series 4-3-1