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11-22-2012, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
This is like a Lidstrom vs Potvin thing for me. Espo was the clearly the better player at his peak but Messier takes it on career value.
... Bingo!. Pretty much what I was trying to state earlier. Two entirely different types of players (though both clearly leaders). Only fair that one considers and then compares both players careers in totality, weighting heavily on the qualities of consistency, peak duration & sustainability, the intangibles they brought into the room etc. On those scores, no question in my mind Messier trumps Cap'n Canada.

Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
I think Espo was in a sweet spot in Boston. He played with Orr on a powerhouse in a diluted league full of weak teams. Unlike Orr, I'm skeptical as to just how much Espo generally "controlled" the pace and action of the game. My, perhaps incorrect, impression is of a big, strong player with great hands who knew where to be. He was great at what he did, but he was very opportunistic as well. I'm not sure how well his skills would translate to a more typical situation on a more typical team in a more typical league/era.
... oh, no question about that, Espo absolutely was born to play for the Bruins. Right guy, right place, right time. And your "impressions" are fairly accurate. Phil was as you know a big man for the era, an unbelievably gifted shooter with soft hands, deadly accurate with the snap, flick & wrist shot; an absolute Magician when it came to deflections.

He'd basically just set up shop in between the hash marks right in front of the net, waiting for feeds, banging in a rebound. He had a huge reach, was strong on his skates (though by no means a speedster, more lumbering, skated like a defenceman really), extremely difficult to move, more than willing to take & give back the punishment stationing oneself in that location was sure to engender, all the while of course completely screening the goaltender, often interfering with him, trash talking, the usual...

Derisively back in the day, we called players like that "Goal Sucks", camping out on the Goalies crease, some of the worst offenders playing it high when his own team was on the D, figure skating between their blue line & centre, actually behind your own defence. As a goalie, beyond worrisome at times because if the puck did squirt loose or he gets a pass, open breakaway from centre. Phil didnt take it that far, he was responsible defensively & backchecked, but despite the gaudy numbers, because of the way he scored them, never really afforded the respect while playing nor after that a Richard, Bathgate, Hull, Beliveau or Bossy received.

Last edited by Killion: 11-22-2012 at 04:30 PM.
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