TORONTO – On Bobby Orr's birthday Monday, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara talked about how the iconic Orr redefined the defenseman position in the NHL and B's coach Bruce Cassidy recalled wearing No. 4 while idolizing Orr growing up in Ottawa.
Cassidy said he even had the Ottawa Citizen front page featuring the famous photo of Orr’s leaping Stanley Cup-winning goal in 1970 tacked up in his room as a hockey-crazed kid in Ontario.
“I always wore No. 4 as a kid and I loved watching him play, so I always tried to be an offensive defenseman,” said Cassidy. “I don’t think anybody can truly say they measured up to Bobby Orr.”
So, every member of the Bruins organization celebrated the legendary Orr turning the ripe old age of 69 in their own way on Monday morning, including Brad Marchand channeling Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s Billy Madison-like preoccupation with the No. 69 when asked about it following morning skate at the Air Canada Centre.
“Happy birthday to Bobby. It’s a great age. Great year,” said Marchand with an impish smile on his face after also getting named the NHL’s No. 1 Star for this week. “He’s obviously a tremendous icon in this game and he was able to change the way that the defense play their position in the game. He’s also an incredible human being. Just the nicest guy you’re ever going to meet, so happy birthday to him and many more to come.”
There’s no word on how the Greatest Player in NHL history is celebrating his birthday this year, but it might just include watching Marchand and the rest of his Bruins teammates take on the Maple Leafs in a showdown in Toronto with major playoff implications.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while refraining from shoving any world leaders today.
*Larry Robinson and the San Jose Sharks are parting after working together for five seasons, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz.
*Speaking of Kurz, he also has a Sharks mailbag on which players are most likely to be traded out of San Jose during the offseason. Somebody has got to go, and you’d think it would be somebody without much tread left on the tires.
*Moving on to other topics, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said that losing a Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators was the “toughest” loss of his career. I don’t see how this is possible. You see, Kesler is no slouch at falling short. In fact, he’s a tremendous loser, having dropped a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and also having lost a Gold Medal Game for Team USA at the hands of Sidney Crosby and Canada in 2010 in overtime that was also played in Vancouver. It took a simple Google search to find an actual postgame video of Kesler crying into his hockey glove on the bench in the aftermath of Game 7 vs. the Bruins. So, pardon me if I’m not buying Kesler talking about a conference finals loss as the worst of his career when he was one home win away from being a Stanley Cup champion in Game 7, and proceeded to lose like he’s done many, many times in the most important games of his career. Dude, you’ve been through tougher losses. Trust me on that one.
*The idea of trading Alex Ovechkin might be gaining some traction with the Capitals fan base, but it doesn’t seem to be based on reality at this point.
*The pride of Melrose, Mass, Conor Sheary, delivered in Game 7 for the Penguins as they return to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons.
*Bobby Ryan said his strategy for success in the playoffs, at least in part, was staying off the phone. Maybe he ought to try that a bit more during the regular season.
*Congrats to the folks at NBC for another successful Red Nose Day that featured a reunion of the “Love Actually” cast among other things.