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.
The longer that the Bruins can hang around in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the greater the chances they can enter some healthy bodies back into the equation.
Just a couple of weeks after Torey Krug went down with a lower body injury that had him in a knee brace and crutches leaving the TD Garden, the Bruins top puck-moving defenseman began his road back to recovery with some skating on the ice. It wasn’t part of a full practice as the Bruins had the day off the ice following their epic Friday night double-overtime Game 5 win over the Ottawa Senators, but it was still encouraging to see Krug make forward progress.
“He started that process of his rehab, so he’s on the ice,” said Bruce Cassidy of Krug, who has missed all five of the games in the first round playoff series thus far. “I don’t believe Carlo was on the ice today.”
It was clear Krug was making progress when he traveled with the rest of the Bruins to Ottawa for Friday night’s Game 5, and now one has to wonder if he can somehow be a factor at the end of this first round series against the Senators. Obviously a return for Game 6 on Sunday afternoon would be out of the question given that he hasn’t even practiced with the team, but one has to wonder if a possible Game 7 could happen given that the game wouldn’t be played until Wednesday night in Ottawa.
While the Bruins have survived without Krug in the lineup, he could have a major impact on Boston’s ability to swiftly move through the 1-3-1 trap and execute some of the stretch passes and transition plays that Ottawa has been successfully throwing at the Bruins throughout the series. Krug could also make an impact on the Bruins power play that’s been down (2-for-14 for a 14.3 percent success rate) in the postseason from their potency during the regular season.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while feeling like I’m in a playoff series now after that double-overtime classic in Ottawa. Things are starting to simmer to a boil between these two teams.
*Only during this spring’s playoffs could you have an Edmonton TV reporter have his live shot interrupted by Edmontonians going nuts with a game-winning goal.
*Tom Wilson is an unlikely playoff hero for the Washington Capitals and he’s a pretty unlikely hockey hero in general given the way he plays most nights.
*Hockey Dart Guy has apparently become a thing in Canada where this massive Maple Leafs fan speaks for an entire nation.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Nazem Kadri defending his low hit on Alex Ovechkin in a heated Leafs/Capitals playoff series.
*Some fun candid stuff during the playoffs with players mic'd up in games, including Charlie McAvoy’s communication skills, courtesy of Rogers SportsNet.
*Bob McKenzie says that Erik Karlsson is the best defenseman in the NHL and that it’s not even close. I’d have to agree, though I did see some signs of wear and tear on the Swedish D-man for the first time in the series in Game 5.
*For something different: This WWE wrestler getting all jacked up opening his Funko Star Wars figures is pretty hilarious.