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11-24-2012, 09:17 AM
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Except that the evidence provided in the other thread strongly suggests that Orr's presence was worth about 0.33 points per game to Espo, which is about 27 per season, and that's a bare minimum and before you consider the territorial edge he provided. Without Orr, the play is in Boston's end a lot more when Espo's on the ice, than it otherwise was.

I agree that it looks like Espo could still have won a ross without Orr, perhaps 2 or 3, but the margins wouldn't have been so great. And I know you don't think quantity matters, but it does. Part of his legacy is how many titles he won, and also the margins he won them by. That changes drastically without Orr. Put Orr on one of five other teams, and it's quite possible that their best forward wins a couple Art Rosses in the 1970s as well.
Quantity matters, as I said in this thread (or maybe the other thread) my chart shows that he still has some significant scoring finishes ahead of what would be the second place finisher. Besides, you look at the original chart here in this thread on the OP and you can see it is scattered all over the place and there is actually a time when Esposito scores more without Orr (I think it was 1968). Then the biggest sample size is 1973 when Orr missed 15 games. Esposito was on pace for a 126 point season in comparison to his 130. So really, why is the guy being shortchanged so much?

Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
The sample of Espo's games in Boston without Espo is very small, and nearly half of that is in '68 when Orr at least was not yet in peak form. Even including '68 is less than a full season's worth of games, yet we have multiple season of Espo w/o Orr on each side of Espo's career when he wasn't in Boston, and these suggest a very substantial difference from his years in Boston. How much of that was due to 1) Orr's presence/absence, 2) his other teammates in Boston, 3) being on a powerhouse in a league with great disparity, 4) the league being more difficult after '75 and esp. pre-expansion, and 5) Espo being "too young" or "too old" is debatable, but the massive difference in production is obvious.

You're probably right about "style vs. substance" and I agree Espo shouldn't be unnecessarily penalized for being simply effective. However, Espo is relatively unique in having produced at such a high level without having some of the elite level skills of other elite forwards. Of course scoring "ugly goals" can be done in any era, but how many such players have scored points at anywhere near the level of Espo? Again this speaks to his unique abilities, but it also speaks to the perfect storm in a number of ways which encompassed his peak/prime IMO. He's similar to Gretzky in that neither was always as flashy as you might expect from their numbers, but there was never any doubt that Gretzky was driving the bus from the start to the finish of his career, while that's part of the riddle we're trying to solve with Espo.
Well here's the thing with Esposito. I'm not sure a lot of people on these boards actually saw him play. I saw him play. But this can be a moot point if people who are younger would actually watch old game videos of him. Not even just a highlight reel but entire games with him in it. Watch him in playoff years, the 1972 Canada/Russia series, even parts of the 1976 Canada Cup. The guy was definitely "driving the bus" when he was on the ice. It wasn't just "let Orr have the puck and wait for him". Now, was he a better player than Orr? Nobody was so that's a moot point. But was he an integral part every time he was on the ice? You bet. You can see this the way he plays. People that never watched him don't realize just how often Esposito had the puck on his stick. He carried the puck a lot, he really did, and he was good at it as well. But he also had wonderful anticipation and knew when to get in front of he net where he was unstoppable. Did it help having Orr with him? Sure, but it also helped having Cashman dig in the corners and get him the puck in the slot. Esposito knew where to be.

So in my opinion the most notable points are #1 and #5. He missed Orr, but he also was getting older and unless your name is Gordie Howe your production will start to drop in your 30s. Has anyone thought that this might have been the reason they traded Esposito to start with? Doesn't anyone think Sinden realized his star forward was starting to age and he always desperately wanted to get Brad Park from the start? Heck, if Sinden knew this don't you think Esposito was starting to show signs of slowing down then?

Lastly, while it is a small sample size, the time Orr had on Chicago was 26 games with 27 points. Yes his knees were killing him just like we could notice that in the 1976 Canada Cup. However, even someone as great as Orr had to have been missing his old buddy lightening his load because he didn't have anyone to do that anymore in Chicago. Food for thought.

Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
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.
I've seen the evidence and the scoring finishes. I fail to see where Esposito would have lagged behind to become just a regular "top 10" guy rather than a guy constantly threatening the scoring race and still winning it enough times. There wasn't a dominant forward in the NHL like him at that time with or without Orr.

Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
No 8 games in that series, which was the 1st time the Russians were playing with hitting and a big guy like Esposito might have an advantage there, is not going to take away all those games with the Black Hawks and Rangers.

Something that always bothers me is the case of two eras of Bruins (Shore's and Orr's) having such great players, I believe Shore played on teams with 5-7 HHOF guys in many seasons, only having 2 SC's.

Shore is put on this high pedestal, as is Espostio (Orr clearly belongs there more than those 2 guys) yet they fail to achieve the ultimate prize as often as one would expect given the number of teams in the league on those occasions. One would think that those Bruin teams of Orr and Espo (often cited as 2 players in the top 10 of all time) and the rest of the cast that gets alot of praise would win more than 2 SC's and their failure to do so might be seen in some less than positive light?
First off, even if the Russians never saw a player like Esposito before he still scored 7 goals in 8 games that series. And the NHL saw him all the time and they couldn't stop him either, so I think that's a moot point.

Secondly, those Bruins teams should have won more Cups, I agree. It is a knock you can give Esposito and even Orr (and Shore for that matter earlier). Just one more Cup would have made things prettier. Such as in 1971 or 1974 which was totally possible. In 1975 I've never understood how an Orr/Espo combo could lose to the Blackhawks either. So they could have won more, but they still won two so it isn't all that bad. I liken them to Mario and the Pens who probably could have won at least once more but still have a pair to their name.

Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I must have missed that where is that thread?
The thread entitled "Esposito without Orr". Fun stuff.

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