Eagleson began the business by telling a Toronto columnist he intended to write to each WHA club stating that Orr would become a free agent on Sept. 30, 1976 and asking if they would be interested in acquiring his services after that date. "It's merely an exploratory measure," Eagleson says. "Bobby has never expressed a desire to play anywhere but in Boston, and he's perfectly happy with the contract he has. At the same time, some of those WHA teams could come up with a proposition that has never even occurred to us. After all, if Bobby Hull is worth $250,000 a year to any hockey team, we think Orr is worth at least twice that much. At least, I think he is. Bobby doesn't seem to attach as much importance to himself as I do. You give me Bobby Orr and 16 bodies and I'll make any franchise a success.
"And we have to think what a merger between the leagues would do to a player's bargaining power. The money paid to pro football players just before the merger of the NFL and AFL was far greater than that offered today."
The supposedly indestructible Dick Butkus has complained about training-camp scrimmaging, which is understandable for a man of 30 with eight seasons of pro football behind him, but he also says he wants to get off the specialty teams.
Butkus? Still on specialty teams? Yes, sir. "I'm going into my ninth year and I'm still on specialty teams," he said the other day. "You don't see that on other clubs. I wouldn't mind if they didn't have anybody else, but they're always saying the way for a rookie to make the club is to do well on the special teams. But they don't get the chance. I'm out there and guys in their second and third year who have no other way to get into the game are sitting on the bench."