To fill some time and space while we are sitting here waiting for the Hockey Gods to smile on us once again, I thought I would go through my archive and put some stuff up again.
Here is a repost of something I put up awhile back on one of my favorites from his era.
If a person would look up the statistics for Orland Kuttenbach, you would see nothing to indicate that he was anything but an adequate journeymen hockey player.
13 Seasons, 639 Games, 119 Goals, 213 Assists, and 628 PIM. None of these numbers, by themselves, jump out at you.. They hardly begin to tell the story of one of the better, steadiest and disciplined players of the 60’s and early 70’s. He is overshadowed by many of the games superstars from the “Original Six Era”.
At 6’ 2” and 190 pounds, he had good size for a for a center, or any player, when he came up to the Rangers in the 1960 season. Ironically, he played in only 10 games for New York in that year garner just 6 assists and 2 PIM. He was claimed by the Boston Bruins
, in June of 1961 Intra-League Draft.
He would play for a few years for the Bruins, move to Toronto for a year, then back to the Rangers. He would play the last 5 years of his career in Vancouver. He was the first captain in the history of that franchise.
I saw him come into the league, but, he only played in a handful of games in his first two seasons. I watched him play a bit on the 63 and 64 season. I picked his career up again in 1970. He was not a great skater or exceptional scorer. He was big, strong, and hard to move off the puck. He usually was on the second or third line, as with his size and ability, he was an extremely good checker and a physical force to be dealt with. You could say the actual start of his career was the 1963 season. From then to 1974 he scored all but 6 of his points and all but 6 of his PIM.
While I was away, Kurtenbach needed back surgery at the end of the 1968-69 season calling for a spinal fusion. I picked him back up in the 1970 season. I was surprised to see he was a team captain, Vancouver’s first, and how well his overall game had improved. He scored 153 of his points and 163 of his PIM.
Again numbers alone do not give a fair or complete of Mr. Kurtenbach. I mentioned the discipline with which he played. From all the information I could gather, including DYG, he had 40 actual fights. That would be about 200 minutes of his, total 1/3 of his 628 total PIM. For a guy who was not known as a fighter, that’s a pretty good number. The low total number of penalties minutes for a guy who would fight and the way he played the game, show the control with which he played.
Speaking of his fights, he was a Jekyll and Hyde. He fought as he played, with great passion. Did he win every fight? No. Did he knock out or knock down all of his opponents? No. Did he go out of his way to fight or hurt someone? No. Could he handle himself well, a resounding Yes.
His intensity made him a respected foe, that a lot of players did not want to piss off.
Some of his opponents from the 1963 to1973 period of time frame were:
He had two fights in the 1974 season. By this time NHL play and his back had taken a toll on him. In a fight in January of 1974, with Dave Lewis, he was knocked out. He played in only 52 Games that year and only 42 the year before. Mr. Kurtenbach retired after the 1974 season.
I thought I would leave you with some words about him from Joe Pelletier from:
Quote, Greatest Hockey Legends
Orland saw his experience in Vancouver as a fresh start. He became the first captain in the franchise history (1970), a position he held with great dignity until 1974. Orland quickly became a fan favorite and had an exceptionally fine first season for the Canucks. He scored 53 points (21+32) in 52 games, which was easily his best season ever in the NHL to that point. The next season (1971-72) he topped that and scored 61 points (24+37).
"I can't explain it," Orland said at the time of his new found success. "It's true that now that I'm the team captain I'm in a slightly different role. Before, I was always the third center, specializing in checking assignments. Now, I'm getting a chance to spend more time on the ice and to work on power plays. That's made a difference, simply because I'm getting more opportunities. Shots are going in for me. My passes are getting to where I want them to go. It's just the way it is in sports."
Orland wasn't a spectacular player and he bounced around a lot over the years, but he played hard every night and his approach to the game was perfect. He once said. " I'm a hockey player by profession. I like hockey and make a living at it. I will play my best no matter where I land. " And that's exactly what he did.
In my opinion, he was a hard working blue collar player who knew what his job was, did it and did it well. A grinder and player you would love to have on your team.
P.S. His quotes are from various sources, including Hockey News and papers.