Bobby Orr: A Career Cut Too Short

Ryan PickardCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

Robert Gordon "Bobby" Orr born March 20, 1948 is considered one of the greatest players to ever play in the NHL. Orr played 10 seasons for the Boston Bruins and a brief two years with the Chicago Black Hawks although he didn't play much for the Blackhawks seeing as he was injured for most of his time there.

Bobby Orr began his NHL career in Boston in 1966. In his first season he finished with 13 goals and 28 assists. He would go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy that year awarded to the best rookie in the league. In Orr's second season he finished with only 11 goals but after this he would never go below 20 goals scored again.

Orr's breakout season was in 1969-70 in which he finished with 33 goals and 87 assists. Along with these numbers he scored nine goals and had 11 assists to lead the Bruins to their fist Stanley Cup since 1941.

Orr also won the Conn Smythe Award given to the playoff MVP. He would have an even better year the next year where he finished with 37 goals, 102 assists, and a record +/- 102 which still stands as the NHL record which will most likely never be broken. The Bruins would be knocked out in the first round though by the Canadiens.

The very next year Orr again posted amazing numbers finishing with 37 goals and 80 assists. He again led the Bruins to their second Stanley Cup in three years once again winning the Conn Smythe Award, the first player to ever win it twice.

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Orr's best season point wise was in 1974-75 in which he finished with 46 goals and 89 assists. This would also be his last season in which he played more than half the season.

Bobby Orr eventually signed with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1976 but only played two seasons for them in which he only played 20 games in his first season and six games in his second and last season with the Black Hawks. Bobby Orr officially retired at the end of the 1978 season after having had over a dozen knee surgeries.

This is what ultimately led to his retirement at just the age of 31. Instead of having to wait the mandatory three year period before being put into the Hall of Fame he was enshrined at 31 years old, the youngest player to ever be put into the Hall of Fame.

Bobby Orr had an amazing career but one can only wonder what would have happened if he hadn't been forced to retire at such a young age. Bobby played with such a reckless style that he just couldn't play anymore.

He played every game as though it were his last and he had to give 100% or he shouldn't give any effort at all. Even after retiring at such a young age he still finished with 270 goals and 645 assists.

He won the Norris trophy awarded to the best defencemen a record eight straight years from 1968-1975. He is the only player to have won four major NHL awards in one season. Orr was also named sportsman of the year in 1970.

Bobby was also said to have revolutionized his position as defencemen in hockey. Before Orr arrived in the league defencemen weren't known for scoring goals.

Instead of hanging back like most defencemen Orr would skate up and down the ice doing circles around his opponents and then score and somehow made it look like nothing. Even though Orr's career was cut short he still managed to be one of the greatest NHL players ever and it's quite possible this league will never see another Bobby Orr again.

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