Based on Carlyle's comments re players playing better when they're not scared, sure sounds like Orr will make this team.— Michael Traikos (@Michael_Traikos) September 25, 2014
I'm not calling Mr. Traikos' reporting or analysis into question here but I have to hope there's been some misunderstanding.
Anyone reading this knows that Colton Orr isn't much of a hockey player and to be clear this article isn't meant to attack Colton Orr per se. None of this will be especially flattering to the pugilist but it's worth saying.
Last season Colton Orr fought six times. On opening night he fought George Parros twice. He lost handily to the Canadien and in the second fight this happened (warning: graphic):
We'll come back to the Parros situation. Colton Orr fought three times in November, beating Tom Sestito and losing to Eric Boulton and George Parros. He then didn't fight again until January 10th when John Erskine threw him a savage beating:
Currently on Hockeyfights 96.6% of people think Erskine won that fight, and given how many Leafs fans use the internet I think that speaks volumes.
Colton Orr hasn't fought since. He's had concussion troubles and bouncing his head off the ice can't help that. It leads to this question: who is afraid of Colton Orr?
Colton Orr is going to be 32 years old. Here's a list of players with 200 PIMs in a season and fewer than 10pts since 1984 who are 32 or older: Rob Ray (x2), Stu Grimson (x2), Denny Lambert. That's three guys. Conceptually this point is pretty simple: punching pro athletes up is likely a young man's game. When injuries start piling up teams turn to younger guys because there's no shortage of face punchers.
Based on how infrequently he fights and how infrequently he wins those fights it's not a big leap to suggest that Colton Orr isn't a great fighter anymore. We've thoroughly debunked things like "having a fighter means guys won't take liberties with your stars", we've seen Kadri cheap shotted on the ice with Orr on his line.
But let's go back to that George Parros fight where he slips and hits his chin on the ice. Colton Orr's concussion history, age and willingness to get his ass kicked have to put him in a pretty risky group. If people were taking bets (somewhat morbidly but as a conceptual exercise here) on "how will an NHLer die on the ice in the modern era" an older fighter with a concussion history probably won't pay out much when it happens.
I have nothing against Colton Orr as a person. I hope he feels good and when he walks away from hockey it's on his own terms with no regrets. Again I don't think he's much of a hockey player but he's a human being and watching him fight turns my stomach.
I don't want to see him face down unmoving on the ice and neither do you. I'm worried that if the Leafs keep running him out there that's what we're going to see.