This lockout has poked a lot bears this year. Sooner or later the greatest bears ever to put on a sweater was going to drop his two pucks onto the ice. Bobby Orr, the man who brought us two Stanley Cups, and who has been immortalized in bronze outside the Garden got to chime in on the upcoming season.
“You can’t pick winners and losers in something like this. Everybody lost. Now I just hope that players will get back to work and work hard, and I’m sure they will. It’s going to be a short season for these teams, so you have a bad start, you’re going to be in trouble, so I think we’re going to see real good hockey. This is going to be an interesting year,” he said. “You’ve got to come out of the chute. You’ve got to win real fast. You go into any long losing streaks early and you’re in trouble. I think it’s going to be a great season. I really do, because I think we’re going to see high intensity hockey and very good hockey. I think the players all know what’s at stake here.”
“It’s a long term deal and we need that. Sponsors will be more comfortable doing deals with the league. Players have fifty percent of everything, so it’s a good deal for everybody,” Orr said. “Get good sponsors, have good hockey and everybody will be in good shape.”
Orr can understand this mess from multiple angles. Orr now runs an agency that represents hockey talent. (One of his clients in Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton.) During the length of the lockout, #4 was critical of not just management, but also the players. At one point back in September a disgusted Orr went on Toronto television and offered up a rough suggestion on how to solve the lockout problem. “I know what I’d do with them,” said Orr when the lockout wasn’t even a week old. “I’d put them in a room with bread and water and say, ‘Now you stay in there until you make a deal.’”
Orr talked less like an agent, and more like a player who has earned his place in sports immortality when it came down to the subject of how to get the fans back after all this. “Play hard and give them good hockey. Hockey fans are very loyal and I’m sure they’ve missed the game as I have. … There are some that may be slow coming back, but hockey fans are very loyal and hopefully they will come back.”
I have no doubt that the Bruins will play hard. Their first game is just nine days away when they take on the New York Rangers at TD Garden. For all of us who have been living off of AHL, OHL, world junior, and college hockey, It will be one exciting night.