Sunday, May 10, 2009

Letter To The Editor

... 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.
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.
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!


Jess Rubenstein said...


Sadly people like those at the Hockey News like to take advantage of how others in the hockey world dislike the Rangers.

They like so many other pubs will look for any lame excuse to trash anything Rangers.

Eff them as Ranger fans know the value of Orr

Anonymous said...

I was struck by the Hockey News comment about Orr as well. He significantly improved his skills this season to compliment his ability to keep other players in check via his presence and fists. So who was the worst player in the NHL?

Keith said...

Obviously, the people at the Hockey News don't watch Rangers games. If there's any player that on the Rangers to be considered the worst player in hockey, it's Aaron Voros. No discernable talent and a poor fighter, though he actually came away with 16 points, so that would disqualify him in their eyes apparently. Other worthy candidates: Raitis Ivanans of the Kings playing 76 games with 2 points and a minus-8, Riley Cote who had 3 points in 63 games at minus-7 and can't hold Orr's jock when they fight.

Noah's Art said...

excellent letter! i agree 100%

i guess sam maccraig doesn't know what a role player is.

i think what you also have to take into account is salary and expectations.

colton orr makes the league minimum ($525,000). do you expect your minimum wage burger flipper at mcdonalds to increase revenue by 40%? no. you expect him to flip burgers. it is a necessary task that won't show up in the quarterly reports. but someone needs to flip those burgers for the entire operation to run smoothly.

so colton orr, i tip my hat to you, a true-blue burger-flipping, head-busting ranger.

Mark Bonatucci said...

Orr is like Nick Fotiou, I admit I've never been a big Ranger fan to say the least though that Vic Hadfield guy and Jean Rattelle were awesome as was Brad Park.

So from my perspective Orr, like Fotiou is a skilless waste of a roster spot. In this era to compare Orr to Brashear is as senseless as it was to compare Fotiou to Dave "The Hammer" Schultz in their days. Both "Brash" and Schultz are capable of playing solid "grinder" roles as well as occassionally potting a goal against all but the absolute best in the NHL.

From what I've seen neither Orr or Fotiou ever have that ability and the result is a very paltry amount of ice time. Thus my statement - in the the era of a salary cap I wouldn't waste a spot on Orr, I'd find someelse who can carry their weight as a grinder for 10 min TOI AND act as an "enforcer" when needed.

Anonymous said...

Orr is ten times better than Brashear will ever be.

Schram said...

Have to agree with you again Scotty. Orr is one of those guys that does what he is suppose to do, stop goons and take them out.

Have to say Wade Redden=worst NHLer last year.

Tip of the Hat to Tom Poti for his excellent game winning goal for Pittsburgh the other night, lmao.

David said...

Scotty, speaking of "worst NHLer", are you willing to consider some of your animosity towards Tom Poti? I mean, he did score the game-winning goal Saturday on a nice feed from Gina that beat Varlamov.

Ben said...

Tom Poti thinks back about his 4 point game against the Rangers in the 1st round and he laughs at all of you while you are enjoying vacation.

Colton Orr is not even close to the worst NHLer in the game, but he's not more effective than Brashear and will never enjoy the career that he did. Orr is good at doing his job, but I think you severely overrate his impact on the game. just an outsiders opinion though.

Jessie said...

I don't know if he was the worst player in the NHL...I highly doubt it, but to say his presence aided in the fact that the NYR's suffered very few injuries is at least and equal amount of stretch on your part. In fact, that is laughable.

The NYR hardly experienced any physical ailments because they never went into the hard areas to know, the places where it actually might hurt to go? The NYR were one of the LEAST physical teams in the league and their injury record and their goal totals had to show for it, it had nothing to do with Colton Orr. Yep, there were a few guys on the team that would throw hits...a lot of them, but playing physical and going being willing to pay the price in both ends of the rink is a lot different than being hard to play against. You know as well as anyone what a soft, light team they were.

You kind of embarrassed yourself with that letter.

Kerri said...

What about the fact that Colton Orr worked on his puck possession and skating skills over the summer, and it showed? Orr does every little thing right; he just can't put the puck in the net. How many chances did he get this year that he just couldn't finish? A lot. And that's saying a lot more than some other full time NHLers. Orr's job isn't to score goals; it's to keep the opposing players from scoring goals, something that the Ranger's fourth line does very well by getting the puck deep and keeping it there. And whereas Renney would frustrate me with his constant use of the fourth line, I think Tortorella did a disservice to this team by never using the fourth line. And he absolutely does bring value by being THE physical presence on a soft team.

Usually Frustrated Caps Fan, you are completely wrong. Well... you are right, but you've got the wrong guy. Orr is everything you said, except he can't pot the occasional goal. But he makes up for it by being one of the top three fighters in the league. He's worth the salary, and the ice time.

Anonymous said...

Hugh Jessiman is the worst. Oh, what's that? He's not in the league? By now he should have made it, so he's the worst, and Sather is, too.