Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bobby Orr, Rare Photo with Chicago

Orr being chased by Pierre Mondou in one of his final games ever.
Above is another fantastic, never-before-seen photo from the files of my cyber-buddy Doug Petepiece. Doug has been a photojournalist for four decades based out of Eastern Ontario and has in the past shared some of his great shots with me. The photo is of all-time great, Bobby Orr while playing with the Chicago Blackhawks. The question is, which game is it from?

Orr, while a member of the Hawks played Montreal in the regular season only twice and both times were in Chicago. Doug suggested it may have been from a pre-season match that took place in Ottawa (where he did a lot of his work). Sure enough, a search of google archives finds a game that fits the photo. On Sept 26, 1978 Montreal beat Chicago 4-2 at the Ottawa Civic Centre. Below I paraphrase an article from the Montreal Gazette dated Sept. 27, 1978.

"It's coming better each day," Orr said, "I'm happy with it. I feel it's getting easier each day. There is still a little way to go." 

Orr had played a mere twenty games for Chicago in 1976/77 before sitting out the entire 77/78 campaign. After additional surgery to his ravaged knees, he was on the comeback trail once again in the fall of 1978.

Orr continued, "Things are going very well. They are progressing about the way I want them to. I've put a lot of pressure on the knee but I'm very happy and it's great to be back on the ice." Glenn Cole, Montreal Gazette writer stated in his article from the game, "He was not carrying the puck that often and seemed to be having trouble when he was forechecked in his own end." Canadien, Serge Savard is quoted, "He seems to be alright when he skates in a straight line. He's not as fast right now."

Savard was correct in his analysis. After playing in only six of Chicago's first eleven games to start the 1978 season, Orr had to hang 'em up. Versus Detroit on October 28, a game in which he scored his final NHL goal, he was also on the ice for four goals against. On this Orr himself said," I played terrible." He added, "I worked hard but I now know for sure that my leg cannot handle playing."

Orr would play one more game on November 1 against Vancouver before officially retiring on November 8. Doug was lucky enough to witness and capture on film one of the final games of one of the greatest careers ever.

Update.
Doug sent two more great pics of Orr from the same game. The first one is my favourite, Doug must have been hanging right over the boards at the blue line to capture this great shot. It looks like Larry Robinson and Stan Mikita off in the distance and I would guess it's Michel Larocque in net (he and Dryden split this game). The mask on the goalie looks slightly longer like Bunny's as opposed to Dryden's smaller mask.

The last one is another of Orr in mid fall with it appears to be Phil Russell to the right side. Another terrific, never-seen photo from the files of Doug Petepiece.





1 comment:

Barton Hall said...

The Habs defenseman in the first shot is actually Jimmy Roberts which would mean the photo was taken during the 1976-77 season (or preseason?).

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