Phil Esposito

From Academic Kids

Philip Anthony Esposito OC (born February 20, 1942 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) was one of the greatest professional ice hockey players of all time and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Esposito joined the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1964 season, and centering for the great Bobby Hull, proved himself a quality playmaker, twice finishing amongst the league leading scorers.

In 1967, he was dealt to the Boston Bruins in a blockbuster trade along with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield. While the hitherto unremarkable Hodge and Stanfield became stars in the Black-and-Gold, Esposito blossomed into the greatest scorer of his day, where he became the first NHL player to score 100 points in a season with 126 in the 1968-1969 season, a mark he would reach six times in all and five consecutive seasons between 1971 and 1975.

Esposito was named to the NHL's First All-Star team six consecutive times (from 1969 to 1974), and was named league MVP in 1969 and 1974. His Boston fans printed and displayed bumper stickers during his best years to celebrate his scoring: they read, "Jesus saves, Espo scores on the rebound." During these great years, Esposito and fellow superstar Bobby Orr led the Bruins to Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972.

During the 1970-71 season, Esposito shattered the record for most goals scored in a season when he finished up with 76. This record stood until February 1982 when Wayne Gretzky scored his 77th, 78th and 79th goal against the Buffalo Sabres. Esposito was on hand to present the game puck to Gretzky. Esposito also set the single season point scoring record in 1971, a mark likewise now held by Gretzky.

After his performance in the Summit Series, where he was the inspirational captain for Team Canada and its leading scorer in the series, he won the 1972 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's outstanding male athlete of the year and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He also played for Team Canada in the Challenge Cup in 1976 and in the 1977 World Championships.

In the 1975-1976 season, he and teammate Carol Vadnais were traded to the New York Rangers for Brad Park and Jean Ratelle. While not as glittering an offensive force as in his glory days, as captain of the Rangers, Esposito led the team in points each of his full seasons with the club and remained an effective scorer until his final season. He retired in 1981, subsequently becoming a broadcaster.

He served as general manager and coach for the Rangers for three years in the mid 1980s, moving on to found the NHLís Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992, serving as the teamís president and general manager until 1998; he remains the teamís radio broadcaster. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. His #7 jersey was retired by the Boston Bruins in an emotional ceremony where the current wearer, superstar defensemen Ray Bourque, surrendered the number in Esposito's honor.

Career Highlights and Facts

  • Scored 717 goals and 873 assists for 1590 points.
  • Is fifth all time in goal scoring, eighteenth all time in assists, and eighth all time in point scoring.
  • Voted NHL First Team All-Star in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974.
  • Voted NHL Second Team All-Star in 1968 and 1975.
  • Won the Art Ross Memorial Trophy as the league's leading scorer in 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974.
  • Awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player in 1969 and 1974.
  • Given the Lester B. Pearson Award in 1971 and 1974.
  • Awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in the United States in 1978.
  • Participated in ten NHL All-Star contests.
  • Still holds the record for shots on goal in a single season with 550 in 1971 (over a hundred more than the second most player).
  • Had thirteen consecutive 30+ goal seasons, second most in history.
  • Espositoís younger brother Tony was a great goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks and is likewise a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Preceded by:
Tom Webster
Head Coaches of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by:
Michel Bergeron
Preceded by:
Michel Bergeron
Head Coaches of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by:
Roger Neilson

Template:End boxde:Phil Esposito


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