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Gordie Howe Warned Bobby Orr About His Elbows...When Orr Was Fishing With Him At 12 Years Old, Then Laid Him Out In His First NHL Game

(CHB)—In 1966, Howe was a grizzled veteran of 20 years and he’d been MVP six times. Orr grew up believing that Howe (who died in June) was the greatest to ever lace up skates.

“When I was a kid, Gordie worked for a store in Canada and he came to Parry Sound for an autograph session,’’ recalled Orr. “I lined up to get an autograph. Then one of my friends took him fishing and they took me with them.

“I was about 12. So while we were fishing, Gordie Howe asked me if I wanted to play hockey and I told him I wanted to make it to the NHL and he told me, ‘Well, if you get there, be careful, watch my elbows.’ ’’

That turned out to be good advice on the night of Oct. 19, 1966.

“Early in the game, I got my elbow a little high on him,’’ remembered Orr. “A little later, I was watching one of my pretty passes, looking back, and next thing I knew, I was on the ice.

“I’d had my head down, and he hit me pretty good. Gordie had let me know that he was still the man. He was standing over me, glaring down at me.

“A bunch of my teammates skated to my defense and there was a little scrum, but I didn’t want that. I told my guys, ‘It’s OK, I asked for that. I’ll take care of it myself.’ ’’

Fantastic story from #4 in yesterday’s Globe. Bobby Orr learning a painful lesson from Gordie Howe in his debut. Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of Orr’s first NHL game at the Garden and New England, thankfully, has never been the same since. Orr gave the MDC jobs for life as rinks sprouted up all over the region, like he was some modern-day Johnny Appleseed. Every kid playing street hockey in Boston scored an imaginary Cup-winner as “number four Bobby Orr”. He changed the game in a way that nobody ever had before or has since. You can’t get better than Bobby Orr.

Speaking of well-liked, Cup-winning Bruins defensemen, check out this clip of Paul Maurice talking about Zdeno Chara (he coached him at the World Cup). Z is a quiet guy who goes about his business but is always courteous to the media and polite to everyone else. As much of an animal he can be on the ice, he’s virtually the opposite off it. But to hear a coach talk so glowingly about how nice of a person he is was worth sharing.