Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1966-67 Boston Bruins Bobby Orr Jersey

On this date in 1966 Bobby Orr played in his first NHL game, scoring his first point with an assist as the Boston Bruins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 6-2 in Boston.

Orr, a defneseman and considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of the NHL, was signed by the Bruins at the age of 14. League rules at the time dictated that Orr could not play in the NHL until turning 18. Orr bided his time playing for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League and, in his final season in junior hockey, scored 94 points in 47 games, an average of two points per game, an unheard of average for a defenseman.

Bobby Orr Rookie camp
Orr, wearing #27 during his first NHL training camp

He would win the
Calder Trophy during his first season with the Bruins after scoring 41 points in 61 games. He would miss nine games late in the season with a knee injury, foreshadowing the injury problems that would plague his career. Prior to Orr's arrival, the Bruins had missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons and, while they would not make the post-season during Orr's rookie season, they would make the playoffs in every subsequent season of Orr's career in Boston.

Bobby Orr Rookie
Bobby Orr during the 1966-67 season

Despite only playing in 46 games of the 1967-68 season, Orr would win the first of eight consecutive
Norris Trophies. Back on track in 1968-69, he would play in 67 games and top 20 goals for the first time with 21 and total 64 points.

Orr would explode the following season, scoring 33 goals and adding a whopping 87 assists to total 120 points, six short of the league record and become the first and only defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring, which would net him the
Art Ross Trophy. Additionally, he was named the winner of the Hart Trophy as league MVP. The Bruins would advance through the playoffs, eventually winning the Stanley Cup in overtime of Game 4, a goal captured in an iconic photograph of Orr flying through the air in celebration. Following the playoffs, he would be named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy, making him the first player to win four major NHL awards in the same season.


Orr would top his league leading point total from the previous season with 139 points in 1970-71, including a league leading 102 assists, 26 more than the next closest player, and place second in the scoring race behind Bruin's teammate Phil Esposito while winning the Hart Trophy for the second time. Orr would record a plus-minus rating of +124 that season, an NHL record that still stands today.

1971-72 would see Orr play in 76 games and equal his 37 goals from the previous season while totaling 117 points. Orr and the Bruins would capture their second Stanley Cup and Orr would win his fifth consecutive Norris Trophy, his third consecutive Hart Trophy and his second Conn Smythe Trophy.

1972-73 saw another 100 point season after returning from knee surgery following the Stanley Cup, which forced Orr to miss the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union after being named to Team Canada.

The Bruins would return to the finals in 1973-74 following a regular season in which Orr would score 32 goals and 90 assists for 122 points followed by another 18 points in 16 playoff games.

Orr would once again win the NHL scoring race in 1974-75, capturing the Art Ross Trophy for the second time after a career high 46 goals, becoming the first defenseman to ever score 40 goals, combined with 89 assists for 135 points. He would be named to the NHL First All-Star Team for the eighth consecutive season, win his eighth consecutive Norris Trophy, play in his seventh NHL All-Star Game and win his first Lester B. Pearson Award.

His multiple knee surgeries would catch up to him, limiting him to only 10 games of the 1975-76 season. While essentially playing on one knee, Orr would compete for Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup, earning rave reviews and being named tournament MVP in the last hurrah of his storied career.

A move to the Chicago Black Hawks followed for the next two seasons but he totaled just 26 games and 27 points in 1976-77 and 1978-79.

His final career totals are 657 games played, 270 goals and 645 assists for 915 points after ten seasons in Boston and the two in Chicago. At the time of his retirement, Orr was the leading defenseman in NHL history in goals, assists and points. The only players who have averaged more points per game than Orr are Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy - all forwards.

Orr's speed, acceleration and creative offensive ability, combined with his toughness and defensive skills revolutionized the position of defense and changed the game forever. He also moved beyond the world of hockey, becoming a mainstream celebrity in the United States.

While we have given you a brief overview of the game-changing career of Bobby Orr, entire books are devoted to his career and the impact he had on the NHL, and we here at Third String Goalie recommend Searching for Bobby Orr.

Today's featured jersey is a 1966-67 Boston Bruins Bobby Orr jersey as worn during Orr's rookie season. This particular jersey recently sold at auction for $191,200, clearly putting it in the upper echelon of historic hockey jerseys, as the sale price currently ranks third behind only the $1.27 million for Paul Henderson's 1972 Team Canada jersey and $250,000 for a Wayne Gretzky jersey. A 1974-75 Orr jersey is the only other jersey to ever sell for over $100,000 when it sold for $115,000, giving Orr two of the top four places.

When purchasing a Bobby Orr Bruins jersey, please be aware that Orr did not wear his name on the back of any Boston Bruins jersey during his career, with the only exception being when they were temporarily added for national TV games, as was the practice back then. Quite often Orr jerseys are sold on ebay or other online stores with Orr's name incorrectly on the back of the jersey, as if his iconic #4 wasn't enough.

Even during Orr's first season in Chicago no names were used on the back, making just the final six games of his career with the Black Hawks in 1978-79, a sad and unfortunate end to a great career and not exactly worthy of recreating for your collection, and the 1976 Canada Cup the few times Orr regularly wore his name on the back of a jersey outside of the NHL All-Star Game.

Boston Bruins 67-68 jersey
Boston Bruins 67-68 jersey

Today's video selections is the surprising find of the 1979 Bobby Orr Jersey Retirement Ceremony, somewhat oddly scheduled for the night of an exhibition game against the Soviet Wings. We can't recall any other jersey retirement scheduled for an exhibition game before. One would think that in 1979 any Soviet team on it's own would be enough of a draw to fill the building.






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