Dionne vs Esposito (without Orr)
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12-27-2012, 11:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Originally Posted by
It is hard to predict scenarios. Esposito was not going to develop as he did as the third option in Chicago with the coach and ownership not believing in him. Assuming a trade to any other team for Esposito to be more of the man and go to guy on his team then I think Phil Esposito trumps Dionne's career. Maybe not as many points but still he would be considered as a better player. In 1972 he was THE MAN on Team Canada without Orr and took the team on his back as the leader and best player... on a team full of stars and superstars. No way Dionne could ever have done that. Esposito had A 20 POINT playoff at 36 years old on the Rangers that surpasses any Dionne playoff by a wide margin.... even though Esposito was older and a fraction of the force he was in Boston.
Dionne's scoring would be closer to Esposito's if he did not have Orr. But GMs or coaches and HHOF voters and HF board historians would almost unanimously pick Esposito over Dionne.
23-10 in favour of Esposito on a pretty intelligent board says enough. Some might know that there are a few players back in the day that I defend when they get stomped on around here. I try to remind people just how utterly dominant these players were in their own right. Coffey is one of them, and Esposito is often another, and if anyone dares, then Gretzky too. But there is just too much here that proves Esposito was a better player on his own compared to Dionne. I shouldn't even bother needing to bring up the 1972 Summit Series anymore because there was never a time Dionne came close carrying a team quite like that. Esposito did of course - without Orr. In the 1976 Canada Cup a declining Esposito seemed to outplay a prime Dionne who didn't look particularly special. Dionne had teams who were at least as good as the 1979 Rangers but never took them anywhere. Esposito did when he was old. The knock on Esposito is that he didn't win enough Cups. The knock on Dionne was that he never won a 7 game playoff series. Big difference here and I am not saying he should have won a Cup, but with the Triple Crown line alone he should have done more and he didn't.
We get this same type of scenario with a Dionne vs. Lafleur comparison had their roles been reversed. Everything still points to Lafleur being able to carry the Habs better than Dionne could have. We witnessed what Lafleur did and the incredible clutch performances for several years on those teams before he self destructed. But could Dionne do that on the Habs? Would he stand out the way Lafleur did? Many signs point to Dionne not being able to handle that load.
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