Messier vs. Esposito
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11-23-2012, 07:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Originally Posted by
But we're talking about Bobby Orr here. This is a defenseman who won the Art Ross twice. He is basically one of the most offensively dominant players to ever play the game - including forwards. We aren't talking about Housley or even Coffey. We are talking about Orr here, the man who carried the puck like no one else. It does have some merit that Esposito could still outscore him because no other forward in the NHL could, as we saw.
It isn't that it couldn't have gone to Orr, but the voters that witnessed that season put Orr after even Parent on the Hart voting, so there is always a reason.
Well, to be fair the 1972 team had.................Cournoyer, both Mahovlich brothers, Dryden, Savard and Lapointe. They were stacked with Hab players as it was. Granted the 1975-'76 team did perform well in that New Year's Eve game
Well I did the chart a while back there and it almost seems as if no one really realizes just how dominant Esposito was in comparison to the rest of the NHL. So let's pretend to take Orr out of the entire NHL. He never exists. Esposito does. Therefore the point totals of Bucyk and Hodge would drop as well. So let's compare where Esposito is each Art Ross year to the next best non-Bruin.
1969 - Esposito 126, Hull 109
1971 - Esposito 152, Hull 96
1972 - Esposito 133, Ratelle 109 (63 games)
1973 - Esposito 130, Clarke 104 (Orr misses 15 games)
1974 - Esposito 145, Clarke 87
1975 - Orr 135, Esposito 127, Dionne 121
Alright, we see by 1975 he is slowly starting to drop a bit and age will do that to you. In the beginning of the 1975-'76 season he had 16 points in 12 games before the Bruins ship him to the Rangers. Over a full season that's 107 points had he maintained that pace. It is very early so it could have gone either way but I hardly doubt even if Esposito is a Bruin that whole year with a healthy Orr that he is getting a 61 goal 127 point season like in 1975. He was starting to fall, the Ranger trade just sped it up and he still had 83 points.
Now, those Art Rosses tell a lot. Perhaps a healthy Ratelle combined with an Orr-less Esposito force him to lose that one. Perhaps. 1969 is another one that has "potential" in losing it to Hull. Then again, Esposito nearly won the Art Ross a year earlier with a sophomore Orr.
Other than that, he wins as clear as day in 1971, 1973 and 1974 at the bare minimum. No way does Esposito surrender 56 points without Orr in 1971 and 58 in 1974. Just not possible.
You are criminally underrating an all-time great. My chart just above shows that Esposito clearly would have won at least 3 Art Ross trophies and if by any chance he loses the other two, he is still 2nd. You've got him winning zero Art Rosses and I just can't comprehend that at all.
Look, the pieces fit in well with Esposito. He is old post-Orr and young pre-Orr. He never wins an Art Ross without Orr but he was a power forward and everyone knows just how difficult a bigger guy can adjust to the game. The evidence shows that not only was he winning these Art Rosses but he was spanking the competition in the process.
I also wonder how many people watch actual footage of Esposito. Somewhere along the way he got this reputation as a guy who stood in front of the net and waited for Orr to bounce pucks in off of his leg. Watch a prime Esposito, that guy controls the pace of the game like few have ever done, and in my opinion certainly better than even Messier. He is a perennial puck carrier, not just a garbage goal scorer. He had great hands, long reach, great hockey sense and even better anticipation. The guy was in the NHL for 17 years and no one could find a way to stop him from scoring goals from the slot.
It's not as simple as taking Orr out of the equation all of those 5 Art Ross trophies that Phil won were Orr driven.
I don't see any point in removing him from the top scorers but still including his affect on Phil, it just doesn't make any sense.
We have plenty of evidence before and after Orr that supports the fact that yes like BM67 suggests, that he could, probably would, have been a consistent top 10 scorer (there was a bit of a lag of old time stars getting old and new young stars rising to the top in the late 60's early 70's) but that's a huge difference from an 8 year stretch where he was 1st or 2nd.
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