On March 15, 1970, Boston Bruin Bobby Orr becomes the first defenseman in NHL history to score 100 points in a season, after scoring four goals in one game against the Detroit Red Wings. Orr would finish the 1969-70 season with 120 points, a record for a defensive player that cemented his status as the best offensive defenseman in NHL history.
Robert Gordon Orr was born March 20, 1948, in Parry Sound, Ontario. He was a hockey phenomenon from an early age, signed by the Boston Bruins to a “C” form, marking him as their exclusive property, at the age of 12. His contract included $900 worth of stucco for his family’s home and a second-hand car, even though Bobby himself was too young to drive.
When Orr turned 18 and finally became eligible to join the Bruins, the team had not won a championship in 26 years. Orr’s fantastic play energized a team that had gotten used to losing, and he won the 1967 Calder Trophy, given annually to the league’s best rookie. The next year, he won his first of an unprecedented eight consecutive Norris trophies, given to the NHL’s best defenseman. In 1970, Orr doubled his point total from the previous season, becoming the first defenseman ever to lead the NHL in scoring and leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup finals, where his acrobatic play electrified Boston and led the Bruins to a four-game sweep over St. Louis. That year, Orr became the first and only player to win hockey’s four most coveted awards in the same year: the Art Ross Trophy for the league’s top scorer, the Norris Trophy for the league’s top defenseman, the Conn Smythe Trophy for the most valuable player in the playoffs and the Hart Trophy for the most valuable player of the league.
Orr would lead the Bruins to another championship in 1972, and another Stanley Cup final in 1974. His leadership spurred the previously pitiful Bruins on to a streak of 29 consecutive playoff appearances, even as his performance deteriorated along with the health of his knees. His injuries forced him to miss the landmark 1972 Summit Series between Team Canada and the Soviet Union, and by 1976 he was physically unable to play hockey. Orr retired in 1978 at the age of 30 as the best defenseman in NHL history.
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