By: Will Montanez | Follow me on Twitter @Willfro3
On March 20, 1948, Arva Orr gave birth to a sickly child that the family would name Robert. His spark and grit pulled him through his questionable early goings and carried on during his youth as he established himself as a young phenome in the sport of hockey against bigger and tougher opponents. Bobby Orr would impress at every level of competitive hockey and roused interest from the Boston Bruins at a young age. Eventually, Orr would go on to sign with the Bruins, citing their rebuild and his desire to be a part of a ground-up project.
What would ensue was an illustrious career in the NHL that has been recounted and shared through generations of hockey players and fans. Orr’s aggressive, up-tempo playing style revolutionized the defensive position and influenced the many greats that have laced them up since. He set numerous records, some of which stand until this day. Although his career was shortened to nine full seasons and parts of three others due to injuries he sustained, the legacy that Orr left in Boston and for the sport of hockey lives on and here are just a few of his accomplishments by the numbers.
The current record for most points in one season by a defenseman. Paul Coffey came close during the 1985-86 season but fell shy of matching it by one point.
The current record for single-season assists by a defenseman. Orr posted these totals along with 37 goals through the 1970-1971 season.
Orr became the first player in the history of the NHL to log 100 or more assists in a single season on April 3, 1971, when he notched a primary helper on a third-period goal by Ken Hodge in an 8-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The number of seconds it took Orr to score the overtime Cup clincher against the Blues ending the Bruins’ 29-year championship drought.
Orr became the first defenseman in league history to light the lamp 30 times in a single season when he scored his second goal of the game against the Minnesota North Stars in a 5-0 win on March 22, 1970. He again became the first defenseman to reach a goal threshold when he scored 46 goals in 1974-75 season, breaking the threshold of 40.
The number of hat-tricks Orr scored during his career. It remains a record among NHL defensemen. He tallied his first set of three in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks on December 14, 1968, and his last against the Washington Capitals in a tilt on March 22, 1975. The Bruins were undefeated in those games with one tie.
The number of consecutive seasons in which Orr posted 100 or more points. This figure set the record in 1975 which was tied in 1980 by Guy Lafleur and has since been surpassed but remains the high-water mark for NHL defensemen.
Orr received four major awards during the 1969-1970 season: the Hart, Norris, Art Ross and Conn Smythe awards. Only one other player has accomplished the same feat: Alexander Ovechkin in the 2007-08 season.
Orr led the league in scoring twice. Once in the 1969-70 season and again in 1974-75 campaign. He remains the only NHL defenseman to receive this accolade.
In his injury-stunted career, Orr notched 915 points in 657 NHL regular-season games. He remains ranked fourth, all-time, in points per game behind three forwards: Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Mike Bossy.
While there are many other accomplishments not represented above, Orr’s performance on the ice speaks for itself and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979, immediately after his mandatory three-year waiting period was completed. He became the youngest member to be included at the tender age of 31. Since his retirement from hockey, Orr became a player agent and after several mergers with other firms, he formed the Orr Hockey Group in 2002 which has represented or currently represents many star players including Connor McDavid. Orr frequently participates in current Bruins’ events and remains a symbol of pride for hockey lovers in Boston and around the world. Happy birthday Bobby Orr and to many more healthy years ahead!