Bobby Orr ... On A Pinball Machine ... In A Blackhawks Uniform

Quizzicality abounded in the City of Big Shoulders, at least for this admittedly biased visitor from The Hub O' Hockey.
Quizzicality abounded in the City of Big Shoulders, at least for this admittedly biased visitor from The Hub O' Hockey. (Courtesy of Tracy Knox Oliphant)

May and June are gifts to hockey fans. Most nights, you can find NHL playoff games on television or on the radio. As I was watching the Chicago Blackhawks play in the Western Conference Finals and the Bruins dismantle the Penguins in the East, it occured to me that I had a photo that just might presage, in an odd way, the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.

There I was in March at Bottom Lounge, a Chicago bar/restaurant/rock club, which the locals told me is a destination for fans of the NHL's Blackhawks. A nicely preserved pinball machine near the bar caught my eye, because it featured an image of a smiling Bobby Orr, a hero of my childhood. But something was wrong.

Wait … many things were wrong! The illustration of Orr had him wearing a Blackhawks jersey. He did play for Chicago for parts of the 1976-77 and 1978-79 seasons, but he scored only 6 goals in 26 games, and by then his injuries had robbed him of that special Orr magic. Imagine Babe Ruth enshrined in Cooperstown as a Boston Brave or Joe Montana immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a Kansas City Chief. Orr was, and will forever be, a Bruin. He tallied 264 goals and 624 assists over the course of 10 seasons with Boston and lead the spoked B's to Stanley Cup wins in 1970 and 1972. Orr is still one of the most beloved sports figures in the Hub O' Hockey. I would think it would be difficult even for Chicago fans to remember him in a Blackhawks jersey.

The image also incorrectly depicts Orr as a right-handed shot. He was left-handed. Continuing the litany of hockey errors, the goalie is wearing a Team Canada jersey. Ah, yes, that vaunted Blackhawks/Team Canada rivalry. It only existed on the backglass of this particular pinball machine. Finally, fans of good marketing will have noticed that the words "Power Play" dwarf the words "Bobby Orr" a bit like Zdeno Chara dwarfs Nathan Gerbe.

But two details are painstakingly correct: the goalie on which Orr is putting some kind of hellacious spin move is utterly bamboozled and off-balance. This happened a lot to goalies who faced Orr. And the peeling paint makes Orr's knees look as if they're shattering like cheap vases, which was the case during Orr's short and uneventful stint with the Blackhawks.

This program aired on June 6, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Gary Waleik Producer, Only A Game
Gary Waleik is a producer for Only A Game.



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