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Phil Esposito's legacy with the Rangers

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Old
02-28-2014, 08:59 AM
  #1
Crease
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Phil Esposito's legacy with the Rangers

Espo was basically given the keys to the franchise for a period of ten years. Six as a player (three of which he served as captain) and another three as GM/coach. But he's never called on by the organization to participate in pre-game ceremonies or off-ice events. Is there a rift between him and the organization or is he just associated with a period that the organization would prefer the fans forget about? He's a legend of the game and you'd think the organization would want to milk that if they could. I think it's curious. Any older fans want to chime in?

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02-28-2014, 09:14 AM
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I remember the trade. Esposito had a fit. Any team but the Rangers. Every year in training camp we'd hear the same crap--'I finally feel like a Ranger'. He was a leader though and became the captain--the Rangers did make it the Stanley Cup finals in 1979. He never put up the points for the Rangers though that he did for the Bruins. Well--no Bobby Orr--no Brad Park either because Park was part of the deal for Espo. His line mates in Boston were Hodge and Cashman but on the pwp there was Johnny Bucyk who was an extraordinary pwp guy. Espo has a very expressive persona--he can come across as a blowhard--that personality worked better for him as a player than as a coach or general manager. He was rash--didn't always things through very carefully. Got the nickname 'Trader Phil'.

Went through a batch of coaches. I liked Michel Bergeron though. Remember him walking down the bench screaming obscenities at the refs with his real strong French accent. They wouldn't allow some of the **** he used to say today. Stepped off his perch one time and cracked his head real good. Had to get stitched up. He gave himself a heart condition.

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02-28-2014, 09:22 AM
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ESPO lived and Died in his heart for hockey he s a great man with a huge heart. the problem was he is clueless to building a team and would make trades for specific games in mind.. he was a great fantasy owner horrible GM.. Espo is still tied to NHL network and the lighting if i am correct that might be the reason why

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02-28-2014, 09:25 AM
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Espo was the classic elite player on Broadway from the past era: A high-end talent that abused his body, never had any dedication to conditioning, and bascially just showed up to play. Joe Namath, but just past his prime when we got him, and no championship.

He was a leader, but often led his troops to the local bar even on game days. I'm sure they had a great time, but they had the talent to win it all and just didn't give it the required effort. Ranger fans deserved better.

Espo is one of the main reasons that Messier is so revered among older fans. Messier didn't squander his opportunity.

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02-28-2014, 09:30 AM
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Crease - great question. Did Espo's name cross your mind due to his profanity laced thoughts on the Martin St Louis for Ryan Callahan rumor?

I vaguely remember Espo as a player as I am nearing 40 but his stint as a General Manager led to some interesting transactions.

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02-28-2014, 09:33 AM
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ESPO was the 70's the coke the booze the woman..He lived hard and partied harder.. He was shell of the Bruins ESPO but still got us to the finals.. He was great as a GM as far as being off the wall. He once watched a game where the Rangers were man handled by Quebec and between periods he told Jim Gorden Don't worry Rudy Poescheck will fix his ass next week.. he gm'd as a player not a office mentality

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02-28-2014, 09:42 AM
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Espo was a true leader. He led a bunch of young players to the finals in 1979 and if not for a cheap hit by a certain Islander they might have won the Cup. Unfortunately he was on the downside when he got traded here but he is still a great Ranger!

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02-28-2014, 10:12 AM
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Espo the first TRUE Fantasy GM.

that guy made trades like no one's business.

Fantasy Hockey GM's can't thank him enough for being a pioneer.

Went after Gretzky before LA got him. Garden brass were idiots for turning him down.

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02-28-2014, 10:25 AM
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Espo has massive ties to the Lightning organization (the team probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for him), which probably keeps him pretty busy during the season, but I'm pretty sure I've seen him at some Rangers special occasions over the years -- perhaps I'm wrong?

Does anyone know if he does special events with the Bruins at all?

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02-28-2014, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crease View Post
Espo was basically given the keys to the franchise for a period of ten years. Six as a player (three of which he served as captain) and another three as GM/coach. But he's never called on by the organization to participate in pre-game ceremonies or off-ice events. Is there a rift between him and the organization or is he just associated with a period that the organization would prefer the fans forget about? He's a legend of the game and you'd think the organization would want to milk that if they could. I think it's curious. Any older fans want to chime in?
I have spoken to to Hadfield, Duguay, Giacomin, etc at some of the Ranger sponsored events they have attended. They always thank "Glen" and say he is the driving force behind the alumni activities (who gets asked and who doesn't).

That obviously leads you to believe that he did not like Espo very much. They played together in Boston.. Played against each other during the heated NY/Bos rivalry of the early 70's.

They also went pretty far down the road in terms of trading for Messier in 1986 when Espo was GM here. Espo was pretty outspoken about wanting him here (this was when Pocklington was bleeding $$ and eventually sold Gretzky).

Somewhere along the line Espo probably rubbed Sather the wrong way. Certainly understandable if you listen to him babble.

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02-28-2014, 11:09 AM
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The guy traded a first round pick for a coach he fired a year and a half later who he replaced by himself and lost four straight playoff games.

Then at breakup day he ate bad Chinese food and started cursing up a storm over the fired coach. He was canned shortyl after.

Case closed on his legacy.

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02-28-2014, 11:16 AM
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I was really young when this happened (I'm born in 1980) but I do remember him coming down from where the GM sits during a game because of a bad call or something like that. He was there were the players exit screaming and yelling. anyone remember that?

edit: This was obviously when he was just the Rangers GM.

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02-28-2014, 11:24 AM
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Great insight, thanks guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewcon40 View Post
Crease - great question. Did Espo's name cross your mind due to his profanity laced thoughts on the Martin St Louis for Ryan Callahan rumor?
That's exactly what it was. Here's a guy who is a significant footnote in the history of this franchise and since I've been following the team (early 90s) I can't recall one time he acted as an ambassador.

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02-28-2014, 11:34 AM
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Read the Espo autobiography Thunder And Lightning : A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir. It is a great read and reads like Espo sat down next to you and started telling you stories.

He talks about coming to the Rangers and how the team was not driven to win and he couldn't understand that mentality. Say what you want about the guy but it's no coincidence that the Rangers went to the Finals when he was here. There's also a great chapter about when he put the Lightning franchise together and how he got the rug pulled out from under him right before they went into some final stage meetings with the NHL. He also talks about phone calls he had had with a fan that somehow got his number, while he was Rangers GM. Weird stuff.

As Ranger GM he seemed to make a ton of trades. He might be best remembered for the horrible trade to acquire Bobby Carpenter who had scored 50 goals 2 seasons before Espo traded for him. Carpenter had been a healthy scratch for about a month (I don't know why) and went on to score 2 goals in 28 games for the Rangers and wound up in L.A. the next season. Carpenter was the first US-born player to score 50 in the NHL, I think. Phil traded away Mike Ridley who a lot of Ranger fans missed - especially when we'd have to see him in the playoffs year after year. Ridley scored 758 points in 866 NHL games and 78 in 104 playoff games. Kelly Miller and Bobby Crawford also went in the deal and the Rangers got back a 2nd round pick in addition to Carpenter.

His best move might have been acquiring Walt Poddubny from Toronto for Mike Allison. Poddubny had been a winger in Toronto but played center for the Rangers and wound up over a point per game for 3 straight seasons as a Ranger (scoring 40, 38 and 38 goals in the process).

I started following hockey seriously, when Phil became a Ranger and I loved the guy as a kid, so I don't have the baggage many others do regarding Phil being a hated rival and then costing the franchise Brad Park. Phil keeps himself busy, which might be why he doesn't do Ranger alumni stuff. He's currently doing radio for the Lightning. There's a bronze life size statue of Phil outside the Lightning arena that just went up in the last few years.


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02-28-2014, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief View Post
Read the Espo autobiography Thunder And Lightning : A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir. It is a great read and reads like Espo sat down next to you and started telling you stories.

He talks about coming to the Rangers and how the team was not driven to win and he couldn't understand that mentality. Say what you want about the guy but it's no coincidence that the Rangers went to the Finals when he was here. There's also a great chapter about when he put the Lightning franchise together and how he got the rug pulled out from under him right before they went into some final stage meetings with the NHL. He also talks about phone calls he had had with a fan that somehow got his number, while he was Rangers GM. Weird stuff.

As Ranger GM he seemed to make a ton of trades. He might be best remembered for the horrible trade to acquire Bobby Carpenter who had scored 50 goals 2 seasons before Espo traded for him. Carpenter had been a healthy scratch for about a month (I don't know why) and went on to score 2 goals in 28 games for the Rangers and wound up in L.A. the next season. Carpenter was the first US-born player to score 50 in the NHL, I think. Phil traded away Mike Ridley who a lot of Ranger fans missed - especially when we'd have to see him in the playoffs year after year. Ridley scored 758 points in 866 NHL games and 78 in 104 playoff games. Kelly Miller and Bobby Crawford also went in the deal and the Rangers got back a 2nd round pick in addition to Carpenter.

His best move might have been acquiring Walt Poddubny from Toronto for Mike Allison. Poddubny had been a winger in Toronto but played center for the Rangers and wound up over a point per game for 3 straight seasons as a Ranger (scoring 40, 38 and 38 goals in the process).

I started following hockey seriously, when Phil became a Ranger and I loved the guy as a kid, so I don't have the baggage many others do regarding Phil being a hated rival and then costing the franchise Brad Park. Phil keeps himself busy, which might be why he doesn't do Ranger alumni stuff. He's currently doing radio for the Lightning. There's a bronze life size statue of Phil outside the Lightning arena that just went up in the last few years.
Carpenter had contractual issues with the Caps and he also had kneecap surgery that reduced his speed. He had the same injury as McLIrath but worse. He had to change his game and becam an effective checking line center. When he played for Boston in the early 90s, his knee swelled up so bad he couldn't finish games. Gordie Clark talked about that in comparison to McLIrath last summer.

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02-28-2014, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief View Post
Read the Espo autobiography Thunder And Lightning : A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir. It is a great read and reads like Espo sat down next to you and started telling you stories.

He talks about coming to the Rangers and how the team was not driven to win and he couldn't understand that mentality. Say what you want about the guy but it's no coincidence that the Rangers went to the Finals when he was here. There's also a great chapter about when he put the Lightning franchise together and how he got the rug pulled out from under him right before they went into some final stage meetings with the NHL. He also talks about phone calls he had had with a fan that somehow got his number, while he was Rangers GM. Weird stuff.

As Ranger GM he seemed to make a ton of trades. He might be best remembered for the horrible trade to acquire Bobby Carpenter who had scored 50 goals 2 seasons before Espo traded for him. Carpenter had been a healthy scratch for about a month (I don't know why) and went on to score 2 goals in 28 games for the Rangers and wound up in L.A. the next season. Carpenter was the first US-born player to score 50 in the NHL, I think. Phil traded away Mike Ridley who a lot of Ranger fans missed - especially when we'd have to see him in the playoffs year after year. Ridley scored 758 points in 866 NHL games and 78 in 104 playoff games. Kelly Miller and Bobby Crawford also went in the deal and the Rangers got back a 2nd round pick in addition to Carpenter.

His best move might have been acquiring Walt Poddubny from Toronto for Mike Allison. Poddubny had been a winger in Toronto but played center for the Rangers and wound up over a point per game for 3 straight seasons as a Ranger (scoring 40, 38 and 38 goals in the process).

I started following hockey seriously, when Phil became a Ranger and I loved the guy as a kid, so I don't have the baggage many others do regarding Phil being a hated rival and then costing the franchise Brad Park. Phil keeps himself busy, which might be why he doesn't do Ranger alumni stuff. He's currently doing radio for the Lightning. There's a bronze life size statue of Phil outside the Lightning arena that just went up in the last few years.
In fairness, the Rangers went to the finals before he got there as well.

Rangers lost to the Espo led Bruins in 72

We were still a pretty decent team when he was traded here just 4 short years leter.

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02-28-2014, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief View Post
Read the Espo autobiography Thunder And Lightning : A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir. It is a great read and reads like Espo sat down next to you and started telling you stories.

He talks about coming to the Rangers and how the team was not driven to win and he couldn't understand that mentality. Say what you want about the guy but it's no coincidence that the Rangers went to the Finals when he was here. There's also a great chapter about when he put the Lightning franchise together and how he got the rug pulled out from under him right before they went into some final stage meetings with the NHL. He also talks about phone calls he had had with a fan that somehow got his number, while he was Rangers GM. Weird stuff.

As Ranger GM he seemed to make a ton of trades. He might be best remembered for the horrible trade to acquire Bobby Carpenter who had scored 50 goals 2 seasons before Espo traded for him. Carpenter had been a healthy scratch for about a month (I don't know why) and went on to score 2 goals in 28 games for the Rangers and wound up in L.A. the next season. Carpenter was the first US-born player to score 50 in the NHL, I think. Phil traded away Mike Ridley who a lot of Ranger fans missed - especially when we'd have to see him in the playoffs year after year. Ridley scored 758 points in 866 NHL games and 78 in 104 playoff games. Kelly Miller and Bobby Crawford also went in the deal and the Rangers got back a 2nd round pick in addition to Carpenter.

His best move might have been acquiring Walt Poddubny from Toronto for Mike Allison. Poddubny had been a winger in Toronto but played center for the Rangers and wound up over a point per game for 3 straight seasons as a Ranger (scoring 40, 38 and 38 goals in the process).

I started following hockey seriously, when Phil became a Ranger and I loved the guy as a kid, so I don't have the baggage many others do regarding Phil being a hated rival and then costing the franchise Brad Park. Phil keeps himself busy, which might be why he doesn't do Ranger alumni stuff. He's currently doing radio for the Lightning. There's a bronze life size statue of Phil outside the Lightning arena that just went up in the last few years.
Actually. Bobby Carpenter was traded to LA in the same year we acquired him.

He played

22 games for the Caps
28 games for the Rangers
10 games for the Kings

Had he not gotten hurt, he would have been a very special player.

Drafted 3rd overall, never spent a day in the minors even on a conditioning assignment.

sad

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02-28-2014, 03:02 PM
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despite his accomplishments, I still feel like the Rangers were better off with Brad Park and Jean Ratelle.

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02-28-2014, 03:22 PM
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The way i think of Espo is we traded great players for him, he failed to win a championship here and he doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.

In a lot of ways the Nash trade reminds me of an Esposito-lite trade. Gut a successful roster for one guy, and the wrong player to put all your hope into.

That said, i have a lot of respect for Espo.

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02-28-2014, 03:51 PM
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Didn't Espo draft Leetch?

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02-28-2014, 04:02 PM
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Remember the Sasson jeans commercial with Duguay? Forget who the third guy was in the commercial. Pat hickey? Those guys were pretty popular back in those days. I liked Espo. Vadnais was good too. Problem was not that we traded for him. It was after that, we gave up Middleton for ken hodge to get his old linemates. Then we got cashman after that. They were all over the hill. Middleton scored like a thousand goals for the Bs.

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02-28-2014, 04:42 PM
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There were different "Sasson" lineups: here's the one with Hedberg, Dave Maloney, Espo and Doogie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UilzHNm95Qg

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02-28-2014, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pld459666 View Post
Actually. Bobby Carpenter was traded to LA in the same year we acquired him.

He played

22 games for the Caps
28 games for the Rangers
10 games for the Kings

Had he not gotten hurt, he would have been a very special player.

Drafted 3rd overall, never spent a day in the minors even on a conditioning assignment.

sad
Who did the Rangers get for Carpenter when they traded him to the Kings?

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02-28-2014, 04:46 PM
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Who did the Rangers get for Carpenter when they traded him to the Kings?
Sent with Laidlaw to LA for Dionne, Crossman, and a pick that was later traded to Minnesota.

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02-28-2014, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McD27 View Post
Didn't Espo draft Leetch?
Craig Patrick was still running the show at the time. Espo replaced him a few weeks after the draft.

Quote:
Entering the 1986 draft, the Rangers front office was led by General Manager Craig Patrick, who was coming off his fifth season in charge of hockey operations. Patrick, however, was only weeks away from being replaced by Phil Esposito, and most people at the Rangers draft table that day already sensed that the gathering in Montreal would be Patrick's last draft.

The man in charge of scouting New England high schools and colleges was Ray Clearwater, who still scouts that same territory for the Rangers 22 years later. Clearwater, a longtime minor-league and WHA player, had already been working with the team for six years by 1986. He would also leave in the July 1986 management shift from Patrick to Esposito, but would later return to his current post in the mid-1990s.

Clearwater recalls the mood on June 21, 1986, as the Rangers scouts gathered with Patrick at the draft table in Montreal. Since the front office future was uncertain, there was a sense that Patrick might try to trade up in the draft to grab one of top forwards available. Clearwater hoped that wouldn't happen, because the player he wanted was Leetch.

He had scouted Leetch for more than four years by the time he became draft eligible, and he was hopeful that if the Rangers held on to their No. 9 pick, they could get Leetch there. He sensed that other NHL teams felt more comfortable taking major-junior players ahead of high-schoolers.

"I have no idea why some of those guys (were drafted) ahead of him," Clearwater said. "Some of the guys that went ahead of him weren't in his class at all. I guess they (other teams) were just afraid."

By the time Leetch was drafted, Bobby Carpenter, Phil Housley and Tom Barrasso were all off to outstanding starts in their NHL careers and had clearly demonstrated that the very best U.S. high school players were capable of jumping to the NHL. There was still a bit of a stigma associated such players, however, and 1983 No. 1 pick Brian Lawton's struggles with the North Stars were a reminder of it.

As it turned out, Patrick's decision not to trade up in the draft was a stroke of genius, as was his confidence in the scouts like Clearwater who had pushed for Leetch.

"To Craig's credit when it came down to it, and Brian was there, he had no qualms (about drafting him)," said Clearwater.

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