Friday, September 18, 2009

Fred Cusick and Bobby Orr

What would you give to be able to watch Bobby Orr play in his prime? I know a lot of the dotcomrades out there are old enough to have witnessed the greatest Blueliner to ever lace'em up; but I have to say, there isn't a YouTube montage of Bobby Orr that I come across that doesn't leave me shaking my head in complete and utter disbelief.

How was it ever possible for a Defenceman to play hockey the way he did? Simply breathtaking.

It should be noted that I came across this clip courtesy of The Sports Guy, who had a beautiful obituary for the late, great Fred Cusick at the end of his most recent column, the contents of which can be read below:

From the time I was little through my mid-20s, Fred Cusick announced Bruins games and began to feel like a member of my family after a while. One of my first TV memories was Bobby Orr going coast-to-coast as Cusick narrated the play, getting more and more excited and finally finishing with a "Scooooooooooooooooore! Bobby Orr!!!" Every kid in Massachusetts played street hockey and screamed that out after every goal. Fred and Bobby were like peanut butter and jelly. Someone even made a YouTube montage about them called "SCORE! BOBBY ORR!"

Fred's style was part Vin Scully and part Gus Johnson: perfect pipes and the ability to rise to the occasion for big moments. He had different levels of excitement, with my favorite being the "Yes, one of our guys is beating the hell out of one of their guys!" level. Fred loved the fights. He couldn't hide it. He turned every donnybrook into an HBO boxing event. He stopped announcing as many games when he hit his mid-70s, finally retiring altogether in 1997, to the chagrin of everyone. Bruins games never felt the same. Johnny Most may have been the most famous Boston announcer ever, but Fred Cusick was the best.

One thing I don't understand about the current sports generation: Local announcers don't seem to matter as much. Maybe the best ones go national, or maybe so many games are televised it's impossible for anyone to stand out. Fred Cusick stood out. Sadly, he passed away this week at the age of 90. Like every other Boston fan, I heard the news and felt like someone punched me in the stomach. Other than Marv Albert, he's my favorite announcer ever. RIP.

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