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Ray Bourque Or Bobby Orr?

from Colin Fleming of Sports Illustrated,

Orr’s teams underachieved, in the sense that they never became dynastic. Instead, they had a run of two Cups in three years. A run is different than a bona fide dynasty of the kind the Canadiens had, and the go-go-go pace of the regular season, with Orr’s headlong, driving rushes down the ice and his mad scurries back towards his own end, to dispossess a rusher of the puck, might have had something to do with it.

That aforementioned forward would be caught unawares, the biscuit would no longer be his, and Orr would be swiftly headed towards the attacking zone, seemingly all in one motion. Thrilling. And unlike anything you would ever see at the rink. But, so was, on its whole, Ray Bourque’s career.

Bourque was Boston’s other great defenseman, a magisterial, super smooth stalwart who nonetheless has always been cloaked in a touch of shadow. Everyone agrees that Gretzky, Orr, Lemieux, and Howe, in some order, are the four best players in league history. But even an Orr-lover could argue that Bourque’s career, on balance, as a guy you’d want to have around for 20 years as your team’s benchmark, puts him in a discussion for the fifth best player. And if you had a choice of Orr’s career, or Bourque’s, and you were a GM who was like the overlord on high, picking teams to do battle for all time from your misty mountain, you could well go with Bourque rather than the vaunted #4.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bobby+orr, ray+bourque


WingedRider's avatar

Lidstrom by a wide margin, then Orr (injuries stopped his point production)

Lids was all around Defense/Offense   I am biased also

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 03/15/16 at 05:09 PM ET

bigdee89's avatar

I’d take Messier Jagr and Yzerman before Bourque

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 03/15/16 at 06:36 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

I’m big on era. Lidstrom and Jagr are two guys that, from an offensive numbers standpoint, had to play through tighter checking eras. Ray Bourque at least got to pad his stats in the run-and-gun ‘80s.

All three guys had incredible longevity. In the case of Jagr though, I feel like we are taking for granted what he has done, is still doing, and where his numbers could be if he hadn’t lost NHL games to lockouts and overseas years (of course the latter was his choice). Jagr would legitimately have Gordie Howe’s numbers, but would’ve done it in an era that was athletically far more competitive and grueling.

Lidstrom and Bourque, though not the same style, are probably good comps. I would, with bias, rank Lidstrom #2 among all time D whether you rank on peak or on overall. But I wouldn’t at all fight anyone that inched Bourque ahead of him. It is splitting hairs. Best argument for Lidstrom was that he was as great through his 20s as he was through his 30s, but didn’t get recognition for it. He was overshadowed by the prior era’s offensive studs like MacInnis, Leetch, Coffey, Blake, and Bourque himself. Really, he probably didn’t deserve his last Norris. It was probably a makeup call for having not voted him for the award the three consecutive years before his first Norris. Realistically, he was without a doubt the best all-around D from 1997 to 2009, and there is no argument. Orr and Harvey are the only other two that touch that level of dominance over their peers.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/15/16 at 10:34 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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