Photo by Ray Lussier of the Boston Herald
Of the 296 goals Bobby Orr scored in his brilliant career, the one that enters the realm of legend took place in the Stanley Cup final on Mother's Day, Sunday May 10, 1970. A banner high above the ice wished Orr's mother a happy one. She wouldn't be disappointed.
The Boston rink was a steaming 90 degree's F as the upstart expansion St. Louis Blues skated out to meet the Bruins in overtime. The players, drained by the deadlock and the humidity, wanted to end this one quickly. With the puck deep in the St. Louis zone, Orr blocked a clearing pass, then slid the puck to teammate Derek Sanderson in a "give-and-go".
Sanderson placed the puck perfectly on Orr's stick, and Orr, about to go airborne courtesy of St. Louis defenceman Noel Picard, scored the game winner a mere 40 seconds into overtime on goalie Glenn Hall to give the Bruins their first Stanley Cup victory in 29 years.
For a young hockey player growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, this was a very special moment. This was the first game I could remember watching from start to finish on Television as presented by Hockey Night in Canada. The game has been forever etched in my mind as when I first identified my first hero (next to my mother and father). We all wanted to be Bobby Orr.
To Canadiens, these were the days of our youth, we played on outdoor rinks and imitated our hero's. In fact, that was the year I was the leading scorer in the "Tiny Mite League". I scored 29 goals in 12 games and "we won it all". I remember my father in his "goloshes" all bundled up watching me from his vantage point on top of a snow pile by the boards. That was the most exciting time in my life because he was watching my performance as if I was a superstar like Bobby Orr or Phil Esposito. I ended up liking Esposito because EVERYONE wanted to be Orr. I also chose number 7 as my favorite number just like Esposito.
Childhood Innocence - playing for fun to all hours of the night, freezing our toes until we cried with pain. Running into the "shack" to warm up and then right back at it. Skating all the way to the rink and back home on the icy streets and getting yelled at because my mum thought I would wreck my skates on the pavement. It was the only way I could play to the very last moment and save time. Playing road hockey every day during the summers because we could not not stop playing. Having my dad build a 2 x 4 hockey net made of chicken wire to take shots on each other. And finally practicing my slapshot in the basement and marking up the wall with the puck. Those are the days you never forget.
Photo by Frank O'Brien of the Boston Globe
My Two Most Memorable Moments in Hockey
By Bobby Orr
as told to George Vass
I can still remember the first National Hockey League game I played like it was yesterday. That's one game I'll never forget. The other one was the game in which we won the Stanley Cup for Boston in 1970.
Those are the two games out of many hundreds that have meant the most to me. I suppose every player remembers his first NHL game, how nervous he was, and a lot of the things that happened. As for the Stanley Cup winner, I wish every player could have that experience because there's nothing like it. There's no thrill to match that.
The St. Louis Blues were our opponents and we were heavily favored to win the series. We didn't have any doubt that we could beat them, but you can never be sure of anything in hockey. There was always the chance of an upset and you can't afford to take anyone lightly.
Fortunately, we were all keyed up. We wanted that Cup in the worst way, both for ourselves and for our fans. The Bruins hadn't won the Cup since 1941, long before I was born, and the fans had supported them loyally through some hard years. They deserved a winner. I know they were always good to me.
Most of all, we wanted to win the Cup on our own ice. I'm glad it worked out that way, that our fans got to see us win at home.
The Blues gave us a battle in the first three games, largely because of the way old Glenn Hall played goal for them. He was outstanding, but in each of the first three games we wore him down. We had the shooters - Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk, Ken Hodge, Derek Sanderson, John McKenzie, and the rest.
We went into the fourth game (Sunday afternoon, May 10, 1970) with a chance to win the Cup in front of our own fans. But the Blues refused to buckle easily. They gave us a fight. They might lose, but they were determined to make us earn our victory.
Rick Smith scored the first goal for us, on a shot from the point, early in the first period. That set our fans off to roaring, but the Blues, checking us tightly, didn't buckle. Late in the period Red Berenson scored a goal tie the game 1-1.
Early in the second period, the Blues took a 2-1 lead. I think Gary Sabourin scored a goal for them. We kept putting on the pressure, but Hall was having a good day, and it wasn't until most of the period was gone that Phil Esposito scored to tie it, 2-2.
You've got to give St. Louis credit. They could have died right there but they didn't. They got a goal from a young kid, Larry Keenan, in the first minute of the third period to take a 3-2 lead. It was beginning to look like this wasn't going to be our day.
We went 12 minutes without being able to tie the game. Then, with seven minutes left in the game, Bucyk got a pass along the boards from McKenzie and fired a shot that got past Hall to tie the game 3-3.
That fired us up, but we couldn't get the game-winner. The clock ran out to send the game into overtime.
When the overtime period started, Sanderson won a face off and got the puck back to me on our blue line. I gave the puck back to him as he took off along the boards, and headed for the net myself. It was a give-and-go, and I flew into the Blues' zone, cut around a defender and took the return pass from Sanderson.
I got off the shot just as a defensemen tripped me up with his stick. I was flying through the air - I thought I was going to leave the rink - when the puck hit behind Hall in the cage. We'd won the Stanley Cup.
I don't remember having many happeir moments than the one when I saw Bucyk Skate around the Garden, holding the Stanley Cup high so all the fans could see it. Then the parade, the fans, the excitement, the sheer joy of winning the greatest prize in hockey.
It wasn't me who scored the winning goal. It was the whole team. The credit belongs to all the boys I played with, unbelievable guys.
We won the Stanley Cup again two years later, and that was great, too. But the first one, that was the one that gave me the greatest thrill. That and my first game in the National Hockey League.