Bobby Orr received the National Hockey League's Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding services to hockey in the United States at a luncheon in his honor today. Then film of Orr in unforgettable action was seen and one could only watch in awe and wish those knees were sound, so Orr could take his turn on defense for the National Hockey League all-star team that faces the Soviet Union here in the three-game Challenge Cup series beginning Thursday night.
Robert Picard, the 21-year-old Washington defenseman who will be playing the biggest game of his life Thursday, enjoyed a laugh during the film, because Orr was seen scoring a goal from his knees after being tripped by Picard's uncle Noel, a former St. Louis defender.
"When they saw Noel trip him," Picard said, "everyone at my table had a laugh and Denny Potvin said, 'Here's a Picard all right.' But I was almost crying when they were showing that thing, with the speech he made when he had to quit.
"When I was 16 in Montreal, one day I came out and he was sitting there and I shook his hand and said I was proud to know him. He kept talking to me. He didn't say, 'Don't bother me,' like some guys would.
"When I was a kid, he and Doug Harvey were my heroes. That's part of the reason I wear No. 24 -- 2 for Harvey and 4 for Orr -- besides its being Noel's number. I tried to pattern myself after Bobby, but then I realized my kind of play was not his style. I have to take the body and hit.
"I played two games against Bobby and I had the honor to be deked by him once in Chicago. I'll remember it always, being beaten by Bobby Orr."
At practice, Picard dressed between Montreal's Larry Robinson and Toronto's Borje Salming.
"I had some chills when I walked into the dressing room, but things have been happening so fast I haven't had time to be nervous," Picard said."Salming and Robinson have been telling me things I should do. It's nice of them to help me. Nobody is cold.
"It's really something to be skating with those guys, to pass the puck to Guy Lafleur without finding yourself in trouble. And to go talk to Bobby Clarke (captain of the NHL team) and not have him turn around and give you a shot."