If you factor in effort to get back into one's own zone, its Orr. Orr was too reckless with his skating though. It cost him, but that's the style he played. Coffey simply avoided players and he was sneaky fast. He could glide right by you and it didn't look like he was putting in any effort. Their difference in styles could be indicative of the eras of which they grew up. Coffey had the European influence, although I'm not aware if this was a factor for him. I've never seen anyone skate like Coffey. Draw.
At their respective bests it is about as close to a draw as any poll on here could be until Orrs knees start to go. Orr stood out more due both to his era and the incredible effortlessness of Coffey. That all said Orr will win in a landslide because on this board he is a superhero.
Agreed. Also, this board loves dmen. I started attending NHL games in 66 and I love Orr. He's my all time favorite player. Period. That having been said if the Big 4 all came out in the same draft and the GMs magically (just go with it) knew what their regular season career totals would be, Orr would always be picked 4th. I'm not saying he's not the best ever, but the other Big 4 are not as far behind as some think.
Who do you think was the better skater? I think it's Coffey by a hair.
Rule Number #1 on this board: Do not ever put Bobby Orr in any poll because he will win every one of them no matter what. If you asked the question of best fighter in NHL history, Orr would be mentioned.
Now, back to your question. Overall, the answer is Coffey.
If you asked the question of best fighter in NHL history, Orr would be mentioned.
Yup -- he was. Didn't win them all by knockout, but was a tenacious fighter nevertheless. No need to take my word for it...here's an article written by a boxing expert and analyst. Orr gets a very favorable review...
Straight line, it could go either way but acceleration, turning, mobility, backwards...Orr without question.
Absolutely. Orr played as a forward from ages 5-10, his Coach Bucko McDonald moving him to what he felt was his "natural position" at that age, his father Doug actually disagreeing with the decision at the time but after watching the results....
then there was the matter of Orr's access to natural ice as a kid, a river running into Georgian Bay from his home in Parry Sound (and free outdoor rinks as well); glare ice, bubbled & choppy at other times and areas and miles of it. Even just ragging a puck in a solitary pursuit, that'll teach you how you how to "dance", training ones vision to see ahead & down while keeping your head up, a myriad of obstacles & hazards to be cognizant of.
Coffey was born in 61 & grew up in Weston & played in the GTHL. Free outdoor rinks certainly available & fairly plentiful in Toronto during that period, though whether or not he had access to any of them in his neighbourhood I know not as the biographical inf on his upbringing is fairly light. Obviously beyond the innate ability however, I'd imagine he just must have played a lot of shinny somewhere and did have a local rink, as it takes a considerable amount of confidence learned through free play as a kid to have been able to cycle & make the moves he did.
Both of them had that peculiar bow legged stance, though in Orrs' case it was far more pronounced (Bourque another in that mold), Coffey more a flat track thoroughbred runner to Orr, who was more akin to a Steeplechase racer with a bit of Hunter & Jumper thrown in for good measure. As adept on the flats as he was at facing obstacles.
The mid seventies skates are a marked improvement over the sixties skates...
Outlawed. They ought to have banned Tuuk Chassis systems when they were introduced. Like skating on egg cartons.... then the helmets, followed by the masks, followed by the carbon fibre sticks, followed by the....
its all gone ta Hell in a Handbasket as far Im concerned. Unwatchable. I need a smoke.
You know, it can go either way really. This is one of those cases where I think Coffey is equal. We all know about his effortless strides but what get's overlooked is that even though he was going so smooth out there just watch how he blows by everyone. It kind of reminds me of Fedorov or Lafleur. They were smooth and lovely to watch but they blew by the rest of the pack when they were skating by them. Same with Coffey, he glided better than others skated hard.
Obviously Orr was much of the same way and made it look easy. Really a great poll.