... it's not like Ottawa GM Bryan Murray is going to trade the highly skilled [Jason] Spezza for Colton Orr, the Rangers enforcer who might actually have been the worst full-time NHLer in the league this year. Orr managed just one goal and five points despite appearing in all 82 regular season games. And while he didn't see a lot of ice time (6:29 per game), he still had one of the worst plus-minus ratings in the league (minus-15). --Sam McCaig, "Anti-Awards Full Of Stars", page 14 of The Hockey News, May 11, 09/Vol. 62 No. 24.That was actually published in the bible of hockey, which I was reading on the way home from work just now. It made me a bit ... frustrated so I decided to submit a letter to the editor in response when I got home and figured I would share in here as well:
I understand that The Hockey News doesn't hold much regard for fighting in hockey (in it's current state at least) but for the top hockey publication to summarily dismiss the contributions of one of the top pugilists - even in a column - is irresponsible.So, what are your opinions? Was Colton Orr the worst player in hockey? As many of you are Ranger fans I can guess your answer so feel free to express who you think was the worst player in the game was. And no, you can't use DP as an answer as the Islander goalie really wasn't in the game at all. Five games, franchise goaltender, 12 more years to go. Ha ha!
In the Anti-Awards piece of the May 11th issue, Sam McCaig said that New York Ranger Colton Orr "might actually have been the worst full-time NHLer in the league this year." He followed up the claim with some statistics, all of the offensive variety (points, ice time and +/-).
Mr. McCaig neglected to point out that New York was among the league leaders in fewest games lost to injury, something that has a lot to do with luck and a lot to do with Colton Orr's presence. Having one of the top enforcers in the game helped dissuade opposing teams from borderline or outright illicit actions against its players. Case in point: Orr was taken out of the lineup for two playoff games and one of the opposition players felt he had the license to take out a Ranger. Would Orr's presence have stopped Donald Brashear from breaking Blair Betts' face? Not necessarily. But would Brashear have had other things to concern himself with while out on the ice had Orr been there? Certainly.
Just because a player couldn't positively contribute to Mr. McCaig's fantasy hockey team shouldn't give him the right to slur one of the unsung heroes of the game.
Thank you for your time.