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Esposito vs. Hull vs. Mikita vs. Beliveau

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07-14-2005, 12:47 AM
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Esposito vs. Hull vs. Mikita vs. Beliveau

Since I never saw any of them play, all I have is the numbers and awards (I'm not including the Pearson award because it only began in 1971. *EDIT* I've also removed the Conn Smyth because it came to be after Hull and Mikita won thier championship):

Phil Esposito:
1.2 ppg, 1.05 ppg playoffs
5 Art Ross
2 Hart
2 Cups

Bobby Hull:
1.1 ppg, 1.08 ppg playoffs
3 Art Ross
2 Hart
1 Lady Bing
1 Cup

Stan Mikita:
1.05 ppg, 0.96 ppg playoffs
4 Art Ross
2 Hart
2 Lady Bing
1 Cup

Jean Beliveau:
1.08 ppg, 1.08 pgg playoffs
1 Art Ross
2 Hart
10 Cups

If someone a little more knowledgable than myself could rate them 1-4, and give reasons, it would be awsome. thanks

ps, for Beliveau, something more insightful than "10 cups, enough said" would be appreciated

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07-14-2005, 01:03 AM
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Beliveau and Hull are 1 and 1a for me. Esposito and Mikita fall in the second tier of players. Beliveau and Hull are in the top 7 forwards ever along with Lemieux, Howe, Rocket, Gretzky and Lafleur.

Beliveau didn't look for personal stats. He was a leader. The team came first for him. He was a class act inside and outside of hockey. He was the best player of his day. A smooth skater... a big guy with incredible stickhandling ablity. Great playmaker. Formed a duo with Boom Boom Geoffrion that was one of the best in his day.

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07-14-2005, 07:29 AM
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1: Jean Beliveau:
1.08 ppg, 1.08 pgg playoffs
1 Art Ross also 2nd: 2; 3rd: 4; 4th: 1
2 Hart also 2nd: 4; 3rd: 1; 4th: 2
10 Cups

Put all 4 of these players on a team, and Beliveau is your #1 center and team captain. His size and skill compare to Lemieux, even if his stats don't. Put him in Pittsburgh and he probably wouldn't rack up the points like Mario, but I'd bet on a better team record. But of course the one word that say's Beliveau like no other is Class. I think this sums it quite well: "Rarely has the career of an athlete been so exemplary. By his courage, his sense of honor, his intelligence and finesse, his magnificent team spirit, Jean Beliveau has given new prestige to hockey." - Pierre Trudeau

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07-14-2005, 11:52 AM
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My own ranking:

1. Beliveau
2. Mikita
3. Espo
4. Hull

I'm probably alone in ranking Hull last among the four. An exciting player, yes. A dynamic player, you bet. One of the league's best goal-scorers, sure. But put it this way: when he jumped to the WHA, I didn't think the Hawks were going to be hurting. And they weren't (for a couple of years, any way). To me, Mikita was the best player on those Hawk teams, great offense, good defense. In my opinion, he was the best player in the league during the latter half of the sixties.

Espo was Hull-plus in many ways, a one-dimensional scoring force, not as exciting, and requiring a more specific environment to be successful in, but far more productive than Hull in his best years. An unstoppable force.

I would consider Beliveau to be one of the top five or so forwards that I've ever seen, and I'm not sure I actually saw him in his prime. Statistically, it was he, and not the Rocket, that was the engine for that late fifties dynasty. He impacted the game in many ways that don't show up on a scoresheet.

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07-14-2005, 11:54 AM
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I would definitely go with Beliveau. I'd say he's the sixth best player ever. He was one of the first players to combine size and strength with grace and skill. His moves were a joy to watch. Off the ice, he conducted himself with unprecedented class and brought uncanny leadership to the dressing room. In fact, he was considered for the governor general's position in 1995.

As for the rest, I would go with Esposito (an awesome blend of skill, goal scoring instincts, heart, intensity and leadership), Hull (one of the top five goal scorers who ever lived, maybe the most dangerous shot ever) and Mikita (best European born player ever, went from a PIM king to a MVP, top scorer and Lady Byng winner).

I think they are all in the top 15-20 players in the history of the game.

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07-14-2005, 07:08 PM
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Beliveay is #1 on that list for sure. After that Hull is there. Hull led the NHL in goals 7 times, a record! Then to me its Esposito. He won four striaght scoring titles. Mikita won 4 in 5 but to me Espo was just a little bit more dominant.

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07-14-2005, 09:27 PM
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Sometimes, to get the most accurate answer to a question like that is to ask the players who played against those players.

Players from the 50's have said that Jean Beliveau was the toughest player to defend against.

In the 60's, Bobby Hull was the toughest to defend against. Mikita piled up a lot of points and made his wingers better, but I didn't always see him crank up his game in the playoffs. That may be a bit unfair but that's how I judge a player's value to a team.

Esposito's career changed completely after his trade to Boston. If Espo stayed in Chicago, he never would have had the success he had. Instead of feeding Bobby Hull, Espo, in Boston, was the beneficiary of two tough wingers giving him the puck in the slot and there was also some help from a guy wearing #4 on defence. The view was that Espo needed great teammates to be great.

That view was thrown out the window after the 1972 Canada-Russia series.

Originally Posted by Big Phil
Beliveay is #1 on that list for sure. After that Hull is there. Hull led the NHL in goals 7 times, a record! Then to me its Esposito. He won four striaght scoring titles. Mikita won 4 in 5 but to me Espo was just a little bit more dominant.

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07-15-2005, 08:02 AM
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I'd rank them like this:
1. Hull
2. Esposito
3. Beliveau
4. Mikita

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07-15-2005, 08:38 AM
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I only really got to see Esposito and Mikita and even then I was just a kid. IMO it's Apples and Oranges - These four players brought different things to the table.

Béliveau - Of the four I'd say he was the best playmaker and the best leader (not that he couldn't score).
Mikita - Probably the most well rounded of the four players mentioned.
Hull - The best pure goal scorer.
Esposito - Impossible to move, the guy was a bull and absolutely deadly from the slot.

1. Béliveau
2. Esposito
3. Mikita
4. Hull

Last edited by habfan4: 07-15-2005 at 08:47 AM.
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