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Esposito's 76 goals in 70-71

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01-21-2014, 01:54 AM
  #51
VMBM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post

Sure he had a great 72 series but some context is needed there as well, the Russians quite simply weren't built very well to handle him and had only played in full body checking conditions for a couple of years as well.

Many other Canadians have had better international accomplishments IMO.
Big Phil beat me to it, but:

If my memory serves me right, the NHL defensemen couldn't 'handle him' very well either

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01-21-2014, 03:19 AM
  #52
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Big Phil beat me to it, but:

If my memory serves me right, the NHL defensemen couldn't 'handle him' very well either
Heh, it's the equivalent of saying that Chara shouldn't be considered a top Dman because he's so much bigger and stronger than everyone else or MacInnis' goals shouldn't count because he could shoot the puck so much harder than anyone else.

You always have to remember with Hardy that he doesn't start with the facts and then form an opinion from them.
He starts with an opinion and then finds the facts to fit it.

Today's players are bigger, faster and stronger than they were 20 years ago, they must be smarter, more creative with better developed instincts.


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01-21-2014, 10:27 AM
  #53
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Actually no because your comment about Feds simply doesn't apply here.

He proved to be an excellent player before and after 94 and later as well when he went to Anaheim at age 34.

No doubt that if his role allowed him to take 337 SOG every year he would get his due respect but Bowman didn't use him that way and the raw stats make for a weak and somewhat lazy comparisson IMO.

for what it's worth I would take a peak feds over Phil 8 days a week in any era of the NHL heck even if Scotty was the coach.

One can only wonder how Phil would have suffered under Scotty eh?
So when Ovechkin takes a ton of SoG, it's because he's one of the greatest goal scorers of all time (he is, not disagreeing with that), but when Espo scores more goals than anyone in history had till that point, it was because he had a ton of SoG? Maybe he had so many SoG because he himself was a pretty good goal scorer. Not saying he was better than Ovechkin, but no one wins 5 Art Ross trophies without bringing SOMETHING to the table.

Saying "well the Soviets just couldn't handle him in front of the net" is a good indication of how hard he was to deal with. No one in the NHL could handle him in front of the net either. That's like saying Lemieux wasn't really that great on breakaways, it's just that he had really big reach and could deke the goaltenders more easily. Yes, he did. And he used it well. Espo wasn't the prettiest guy to watch, but he was effective at what he did.

I actually think that in today's era where the only goals that seem to get scored are deflections, rebounds, or perfect shots into the top corner, that Espo would be great. He excelled at the 2 of those 3 methods of goalscoring.

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01-21-2014, 11:24 AM
  #54
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Esposito does get underrated by a lot of people, mostly due to the fact that he wasn't the prettiest, fastest, or most exciting player by a longshot, but one of the most effective offensive players ever, and he firmly belongs somewhere in the top 15-25 range of all-time players, IMO.

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01-21-2014, 06:26 PM
  #55
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One could argue that Phil Esposito's 76 goals and 76 assists in 1970-71 were actually more impressive (relatively speaking) than any of Gretzky's biggest years.

Espo actually scored at a higher percentage over his positional peers than even Gretzky did in the eighties - when considering centermen with centermen.

When looking at the top percentage leaders over their positional peers from the center position, Gretzky holds 2 of the top four spots, but Esposito holds the top spot overall.

The closest center to Esposito in '70-71 was Norm Ullman, with a whopping 34 goals, 51 assists and 85 points. Esposito's 76 +76 was 179% better, and still remains the largest discrepancy when looking at the center position.

Please note: Gretzky was way better than Espo -- I am not claiming Esposito's superiority here. Just that when matched up positionally, Esposito dominated at a greater degree than even Gretzky did, even when considering Gretzky's 92 goal season.

76 goals was INSANE at the time -- what was the highest total up until that time...was it Hull's 58 in 68-69...? If so, that's a quantum leap -- significantly higher from a % basis than Gretzky's 92 goals over Esposito's 76 goals.

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01-22-2014, 01:32 AM
  #56
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Originally Posted by Fred Taylor View Post
Esposito does get underrated by a lot of people, mostly due to the fact that he wasn't the prettiest, fastest, or most exciting player by a longshot, but one of the most effective offensive players ever, and he firmly belongs somewhere in the top 15-25 range of all-time players, IMO.
I think he gets underrated because of his reputation.... People simply don't like his personality and that reflects their view of him as a player.


Last edited by Killion: 01-23-2014 at 12:17 PM. Reason: ya, easy there...
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01-22-2014, 12:41 PM
  #57
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I think he gets underrated because of his reputation.... People simply don't like his personality and that reflects their view of him as a player.
You'll have to elaborate on that one I'm afraid... I would say that Phil has exaggerated some stories though. But am interested in your explanation.


Last edited by Killion: 01-23-2014 at 12:18 PM. Reason: qtd edit...
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01-22-2014, 12:48 PM
  #58
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Esposito does get underrated by a lot of people, mostly due to the fact that he wasn't the prettiest, fastest, or most exciting player by a longshot, but one of the most effective offensive players ever, and he firmly belongs somewhere in the top 15-25 range of all-time players, IMO.
Once he got going he had those huge strides which covered a lot of ground.

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01-22-2014, 01:50 PM
  #59
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Once he got going he had those huge strides which covered a lot of ground.
Well, he got where he needed to go, but he wasn't a great skater by any stretch, though then again, during his prime the league was full of questionable skaters.

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01-23-2014, 10:39 AM
  #60
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Espo was similar to Beliveau and Lemieux in that they were all so big relative to their contemporaries that they weren't bothered by rough play. He definitely could "play dirty" if necessary, but there were others on the Bruins who were much better suited to that role. Why have your best scorer sit in the box?

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01-23-2014, 11:32 AM
  #61
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Well, he got where he needed to go, but he wasn't a great skater by any stretch, though then again, during his prime the league was full of questionable skaters.
Why do you say that the league was full of questionable skaters?

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01-23-2014, 12:30 PM
  #62
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Why do you say that the league was full of questionable skaters?
Well, not to answer for Fred, just my two cents but ya, he does have a point. 67/68 Expansion you had a lot of guys with the in-bound teams who'd toiled in the minors for years and in a lot of cases due to their lack of wheels, speed, nimbleness. A half or full step behind the NHL which was what essentially held them back. Exacerbated in 1970/71, 72/73, the WHA, further expansion through the 70's. Montreal, the Rangers & a few others could skate but on the whole, no, not so much with the other clubs but for maybe a half a dozen or so players. Skate technology improved mid-70's, training techniques, Power Skating taking off at about the same time. Lowering the Draft Age as well, you had an influx of younger, energetic speedsters who accelerated the speed overall albeit the complaint then as now still works in progress who in a lot of cases just werent entirely polished, finished products.

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01-23-2014, 04:44 PM
  #63
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Big Phil beat me to it, but:

If my memory serves me right, the NHL defensemen couldn't 'handle him' very well either
Not when he played with #4 no they couldn't.

without Orr Phil has a really unimpressive resume.

Guy could score goals sure but his 2way play was unimpressive, even in his scoring heyday and his playoffs with the black Hawks was simply less than Dionneesque

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01-23-2014, 04:56 PM
  #64
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Name one player other than Gretzky in 1987 who had a better international tournament at the top level for Canada. Because I can't.

Say what you want about "the Russians weren't built to stop him" in 1972. Well, neither was anyone else in the NHL. He already had 66 and 76 goal seasons not to mention the NHL record 152 points in a season. Guys like Serge Savard couldn't stop him either, you know.

In 1972 he had 13 points in 8 games, had 3 points in the final period and provided clutch play that I think all others will be measured by. This was 4 games in Moscow. Canada needed to win them all. They did. Canada needed to score three goals in the third period of Game 8. They did. These were not great conditions to be in. A hostile environment, your NHLPA leader nearly being dragged by Russians guards out into the parking lot. None of that mattered. Canada does not win without Esposito, at all.

If you can name someone who played better in a tournament, go for it.
Lots of guys "played better" I'll put Orr and Potvin out there from the 76 CC for starters, if its just about stats it's one thing but Phil was never a great 2 way player in any series internationally.

The 72 series is ever rated by many Canadians older than me, quiet simply the russians probably weren't really at our level yet but the Canadians famously were under prepared.

I mean Paul Henderson scored 6 goals as well in that series and heck was a plus 6 to Phil's plus 2 but are we really going to pin that much on one series?

If so you must think really highly of Mats Sundin and his elite performance is 5 different best on best year series right?

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01-23-2014, 04:58 PM
  #65
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I think he gets underrated because of his reputation.... People simply don't like his personality and that reflects their view of him as a player.
Haven't heard that one before I love him as a GM and as a personality with the flair he added

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01-23-2014, 05:18 PM
  #66
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...without Orr Phil has a really unimpressive resume.
... sigh. Not this again Hv? Sarnia Legionnaires, Jr.B 60/61 in 32 Games Espo scores 47G's, 61A's.... 12Pts' in 1 Playoff Game.... moves on to the St.Catharines TeePee's, 32G's & 39A's in 49 Games..... St.Louis Braves of the CPHL in 63/64 26G's & 54A's in 43 Games.... His J.O.B. in Chicago was to feed Hull the puck. Not to finish the play by taking shots himself and yet he still for the era had very respectable numbers.... Boston, you can credit Hodge & Cashman far more than Bobby Orr for his spectacular numbers and as I suggested earlier, if your going to keep on this meme it behooves you to ascertain Orr's Assists on Esposito's Goals....

Jesus Saves, Esposito Scores on the Rebound
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01-23-2014, 05:39 PM
  #67
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... sigh. Not this again Hv? Sarnia Legionnaires, Jr.B 60/61 in 32 Games Espo scores 47G's, 61A's.... 12Pts' in 1 Playoff Game.... moves on to the St.Catharines TeePee's, 32G's & 39A's in 49 Games..... St.Louis Braves of the CPHL in 63/64 26G's & 54A's in 43 Games.... His J.O.B. in Chicago was to feed Hull the puck. Not to finish the play by taking shots himself and yet he still for the era had very respectable numbers.... Boston, you can credit Hodge & Cashman far more than Bobby Orr for his spectacular numbers and as I suggested earlier, if your going to keep on this meme it behooves you to ascertain Orr's Assists on Esposito's Goals....

Jesus Saves, Esposito Scores on the Rebound
Old Bumper Sticker popular back in the day.
Man really junior B and then OHL?

I could bring up literally 100's of scoring superstars from those leagues as could you.

Phil was an very good player in an even better situation, many other players didn't have that fortune and the early 70's was hardly the peak of NHL in the sense of competative balance to say the least..

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01-23-2014, 05:49 PM
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Phil was an very good player in an even better situation, many other players didn't have that fortune and the early 70's was hardly the peak of NHL in the sense of competative balance to say the least..
I agree with this. Perfect storm, and Phil grabbed the Brass Ring. It in no way undercuts nor short changes his actual accomplishments. He made his own luck, it wasnt just handed to him on a silver platter. Absolutely the King of Garbage Goals. As a Goaltender you wouldve hated to have faced a guy like that and we all did during that era as most teams attempted to emulate what Big Phil was all about, very often converting the biggest Defenseman they had to Center in the hopes that he too would suddenly develop a set of Magic Hands. But no, almost never worked out, stuck. Phil Esposito was a unique & brilliant player who made his made his own luck through hard work & perseverance. Orr was "back there", behind enemy lines. Phil was first man on the front lines, right there in No Mans Land taking shot after shot with the majority of his feeds coming from Hodge & Cashman, rebounds & re-directs.

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01-23-2014, 05:58 PM
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I agree with this. Perfect storm, and Phil grabbed the Brass Ring. It in no way undercuts nor short changes his actual accomplishments. He made his own luck, it wasnt just handed to him on a silver platter. Absolutely the King of Garbage Goals. As a Goaltender you wouldve hated to have faced a guy like that and we all did during that era as most teams attempted to emulate what Big Phil was all about, very often converting the biggest Defenseman they had to Center in the hopes that he too would suddenly develop a set of Magic Hands. But no, almost never worked out, stuck. Phil Esposito was a unique & brilliant player who made his made his own luck through hard work & perseverance. Orr was "back there", behind enemy lines. Phil was first man on the front lines, right there in No Mans Land taking shot after shot with the majority of his feeds coming from Hodge & Cashman, rebounds & re-directs.
the thing is that is was kind of on a silver platter and there is a ton to suggest thsi as well.

Or should we think that if tTm Kerr had good health that he would be remembered as one of the all time greats too?

Okay i jest a bit but Phil to me is quite simply a better version of Tim Kerr in a much better silver platter with Orr and company.

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01-23-2014, 06:41 PM
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Okay i jest a bit but Phil to me is quite simply a better version of Tim Kerr in a much better silver platter with Orr and company.
Meh... no worries. I kind of hate to say it but "unless you saw it" he is a rather enigmatic player in terms of getting your head around him. Sort of bizarre cross between Mike Bossy, Eric Lindros with his size but without the Bulldozing. Just a very unorthodox player in many respects. And besides, if everyone agreed about everything pretty boring old world.

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01-23-2014, 07:45 PM
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There's an old saying, "Timing is everything." This is true not just for the era a player plays in, but for how he gets to the right spot for the rebound. Its a very underrated skill that is hard to compare because you just don't know exactly how another player would assess and react to the situation. Espo had great timing. Learned to feed Hull which really compliments his playmaking skills and gets traded to Boston to play with Orr and a number of other highly skilled players. He was bigger than most players and you can't fault him for that. He starred in the Summit Series because of his passion, grit and Soviet unfamiliarity for the physical game. You can't fault him for being in the right place at the right time. Otherwise we could go on a long witch-hunt and say things like Lafleur only starred because Orr's career ended. Shutt only starred because Lafleur was great. Not true, Shutt had incredible timing. Gretzky only starred because he knew how to exploit the weaknesses of every goalie and defenseman in the league. Well he shattered Espo's record without Orr and being 4 inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter. These type of accusations are just not true. Give credit where credit is due. HV - you challenged me in the Dave Babych thread about hindsight being 20/20. That was a reasonable comment, but Ferguson had his biases about the types of players he wanted playing for him. The same goes for Espo. It's too easy to look back and say well he had Orr on his team, his size made it easier for him, he just picked up rebounds, and so on. Fact is nobody else was doing it. Its like a musician today saying 'I can't write any good songs because Led Zeppelin and The Beatles wrote all the good ones'. Well before them came Mozart, Beethoven, Hank Williams and Elvis; each adding their own creativity and in a lot of cases starting their own thing that was rejected at first, but then lauded for the new frontiers they discovered. The critics were unreasonably harsh on Zeppelin when they began to do their thing, but if you ask any rock star now, guaranteed they name Zeppelin as one of their major influences.

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01-23-2014, 07:51 PM
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Well, not to answer for Fred, just my two cents but ya, he does have a point. 67/68 Expansion you had a lot of guys with the in-bound teams who'd toiled in the minors for years and in a lot of cases due to their lack of wheels, speed, nimbleness. A half or full step behind the NHL which was what essentially held them back. Exacerbated in 1970/71, 72/73, the WHA, further expansion through the 70's. Montreal, the Rangers & a few others could skate but on the whole, no, not so much with the other clubs but for maybe a half a dozen or so players. Skate technology improved mid-70's, training techniques, Power Skating taking off at about the same time. Lowering the Draft Age as well, you had an influx of younger, energetic speedsters who accelerated the speed overall albeit the complaint then as now still works in progress who in a lot of cases just werent entirely polished, finished products.
Thanks for saving me a lot of typing.

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01-24-2014, 05:45 PM
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Lots of guys "played better" I'll put Orr and Potvin out there from the 76 CC for starters, if its just about stats it's one thing but Phil was never a great 2 way player in any series internationally.

The 72 series is ever rated by many Canadians older than me, quiet simply the russians probably weren't really at our level yet but the Canadians famously were under prepared.

I mean Paul Henderson scored 6 goals as well in that series and heck was a plus 6 to Phil's plus 2 but are we really going to pin that much on one series?

If so you must think really highly of Mats Sundin and his elite performance is 5 different best on best year series right?
Among forwards, Esposito was definitely one of the better performers in the 1976 Canada Cup. As for Sundin, yeah he was a fantastic international player and you can't bring his name up without saying this. That being said, it was more of a career consistent-type of thing with Sweden. Sundin never had a shining moment like Esposito did in 1972. I use 1972 as a platform that I'd like to think should always show people that Esposito didn't need Orr. I'd like to think a tournament with those stakes is proof enough. It isn't for some people. And I think you may be selling the Russians short. Yes, we had a few of our best not there, but this team kept up with us for 8 games, I don't think that was a fluke at all. They were a worthy opponent. Like the NHL stars, they couldn't find an answer for Esposito either.

The 1972 series is like a side dish of Esposito's career. Sort of a cherry on top and definitely a way to show that he didn't need charity. He WAS the star among stars. But since there is so much more to his career, it is a side bar.

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the thing is that is was kind of on a silver platter and there is a ton to suggest thsi as well.

Or should we think that if tTm Kerr had good health that he would be remembered as one of the all time greats too?

Okay i jest a bit but Phil to me is quite simply a better version of Tim Kerr in a much better silver platter with Orr and company.
Come on now Hardy, in what universe was Kerr close to Esposito? He never even had a 100 point season in the 1980s for crying out loud. He was never even on Team Canada. There was a guy named Mark Howe on the back end - a HHOFer. But to watch Kerr, there is no way he displayed anything near the dominance of Esposito. You have to get past the myth that Esposito just let 76 goals bank off his back from an errant Orr shot and in the net. He was ruthless in front of the net. Impossible to move as said by Serge Savard himself. He had a lot of skill with those soft but quick hands. Not to mention a quick release. Watch the goals he scores, the puck got off his stick in a hurry. You can't get lucky 76 times a year.

Orr would lead the rush more of course but Esposito himself was very good at orchestrating a rush. His reach, his stride and his size allowed him to be a player who could hold onto the puck as well. Then not to mention get in the open areas that few had the hockey sense to do (Brett Hull is another example) and before you know it the puck is in the back of the net. The difference being he won 5 Art Rosses, led the NHL in assists three times and had three Conn Smythe worthy playoff runs.

One thing that stands out about Esposito in many ways was his leadership as well. In the last minute of the 1972 series, desperately needing a goal it was Esposito who huddled the players together just before a faceoff. You never see that, not then either. There was this sense of calm with him. Almost to the extent of a Gretzky from that era of a guy you just would trust would get it done somehow.

Lastly, you have yet to name a guy other than 1987 Gretzky who performed better in a single international tournament.

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