December 29, 2012

Bobby Orr: Instigator Of Goon Hockey?

Bobby Orr fights Pat Quinn
Is it possible that Bobby Orr, one of the most beautiful hockey players to have ever played the game, created goon hockey that defined the 1970s?

Before the Philadelphia Flyers, a.k.a the Broad Street Bullies, made that type of hockey famous, there was the Big Bad Boston Bruins. Orr and Phil Esposito led the Bruins to Stanley Cups in 1970 and 1972, and were ably supported by a rough and tumble team that stood up for each other on every shift. Players like Wayne Cashman, John McKenzie, Ace Bailey, Dallas Smith, Don Awrey and Derek Sanderson.

It turns out it was Bobby Orr's idea. Here's a passage from Derek Sanderson's hit autobiography Derek Sanderson: Crossing the Line:

"It was a young team, but we took care of each other. Bobby Orr made a rule that no one was ever to be in a fight alone. You wereonly alone until the second guy got there. If you hit one of us, the closest teammate was going to clock you  - just drill you in the back of the head, cross-check you or sucker-punch you. Pow! Whatever it took. Eventually they NHL instituted the third man in rule to eliminate this.

All of a sudden, the team that got pushed around the year before looked like it was going to be entirely different. The Bruins had an all-new look. The team had size, skill and sandpaper. This is the moment the Big Bad Bruins were born."

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highlandcross said...

Bobby Orr certainly backed those words up -- of all the "Big, Bad Bruins", none of them had as many cumulative PIMs for Boston from 1966-76...

Anonymous said...

Beginning in the early 60's I have watched a lot of hockey. I have always referred to the "3rd Man In" Rule as the "Bobby Orr" Rule. That is the way he played. Not surprized by Sanderson's comment - very true.