Bruins Icon Bobby Orr Undisputable Choice For All-Centennial Team

In celebration of the Boston Bruins’ 100th season, NESN is dedicating an episode of the “Ultimate Bruins Show” to each member of the Bruins All-Centennial team. Tune in Thursday at 6 p.m. ET as we honor Bobby Orr.

The Boston Bruins have had an impressive group of elite defensemen don the Spoked-B in their 100 years in the NHL.

There’s elite, and then there’s Bobby Orr, the greatest ever to play the position. Given how he changed the way defensemen play the game, you can even argue that Orr is the greatest player in league history.

Known for his two-way play, Orr could beat you to a loose puck with his speed and then turn up the ice and score at the other end. His offensive skills influenced more defensemen in their style of play during his years of playing in the league through today’s NHL blueliners.

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He remains the only defenseman to have won the Art Ross trophy twice for leading the league in scoring. He first did it in the 1969-70 season when he tallied 33 goals and 87 assists for 120 points. He would become the top scorer in the league again five seasons later when he amassed 45 goals and 89 assists for 135 points.

Orr won a record eight straight Norris Trophies as the NHL’s best defenseman from 1967-68 to 1974-75. he holds the record for the most points, 139 in 1970-71, and assists, 87 in 1969-70, in a single season by a defenseman.

Orr skated in 631 games for the Bruins lighting the lamp 264 times and adding 624 assists for 888 points over 10 seasons. He won two Stanley Cups (1970 and 1972) with Boston and recorded the series-clinching goals in both. None more famous than the iconic “flying goal” on the feed from Derek Sanderson against the St. Louis Blues in 1970.

Hampered by knee injuries, Orr hung up his skates in 1979 after an illustrious 12-year NHL career, 10 with the Bruins.

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“I was one of the lucky ones to get a chance to play in the NHL and play for the Bruins, and I wouldn’t trade one thing. I wouldn’t trade anything,” Orr told NESN. “And the question that I’ve often been asked, with my leg problems, ‘Do you wish you had changed your style?’  No.  I don’t think I could have played any other way. 

“When you play a contact sport like hockey and you handle the puck a lot, you’re gonna be hit a lot, and I handled the puck a lot.  Hockey’s a contact game and it certainly didn’t help my problem, my leg problems.  But I wouldn’t trade anything.”

Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979, and his No. 4 was raised to the rafters in Boston that same year.

Orr joins Brad Park, Ray Bourque, Aubrey “Dit” Clapper, Eddie Shore and Zdeno Chara to complete the six defensemen named to the Bruins All-Centennial Team.

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