Re: Angry Phil
posted at 6/13/2013 4:28 PM EDT
Espo was slightly my favorite Bruin, only because everybody else went so boo boo over Orr and I felt.
I don't know what people are finding so difficult here. I'd suggest those that don't have at least some understanding of his feelings are really the ones living in a fanatasy.
In the 60's and 70's(and right up to the cap era with JJ), the player/ team relationship was quite adversarial. For a while, Bobby Hull had a big problem with the Hawks, Gordie Howe hated the Wings, Dave Keon still has a chip on his shoulder with the Leafs. Doug Harvey never had any use for the Canadiens. Even Bobby Orr didn't trust the Bruins. Unfortunately, he listened to the advice of the wrong crook, but that's another story. In almost all of those situations, the ownership groups reached out to the former stars, and made a considerable effort to make amends.
Phil Esposito is one of the easiest people to figure out. He's emotional. He speaks his mind. Whatever he's thinkin comes out. He doesn't filter much, and one of the things I find entertaining about him...is he doesn't spend much time weighing the politically correct. He blurts things out, and he speaks honestly about his playing days. Most athletes don't do that, and in a way, that makes them even more egocentric.
Of course Esposito understands the business of hockey, but he's also obviously a trusting, people guy. Although warming, that kind of naivate has, and usually results in copious amounts of bitter disappointment. these guys weren't making the big bucks in 1974. Pretty much everybody but the big stars had a summer job. They were paid well, but they weren't "stinkin rich". When he resigned with the B's, Esposito could have easily tripled his money in the WHA(talk about home team discount), but his love for the B's clouded his judgement. His ego, and ignorance clouded it even more by not negotiating a no trade. It could have been done without any problem, but good ole Phil was so sure in his own mind, no one would ever want to trade someone who had contributed so much. Many of his contemporaryies operated the same way. At that time, Esposito would have been the biggest name to bolt the NHL, and his contract would have made Sanderson's look like chicken feed.
Same with the Lightning. He goes in there....all in, works his butt off without crossing every T and dotting every I....because he trusts people. Same thing.
So yeah....he got royally screwed a few times. As far as the Bruins, he knows his "retirement' was nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell a few tickets on an off nite. He knows it wasn't a company thing, just a few heavy hitters laying down some pressure to the corner office. That in itself would make anyone bitter. What many here don't know if they didn't live in the early 70's...is that many, many people at the time actually argued over who was better. Orr or Esposito. They were talked comparitively all the time. Of course his number deserved to get retired.
I think in many ways, Esposito understands he's the problem. He's mad at himself, as much as anybody for allowing himself to be taken advantage of.
Where I disagree with many posters here, is the "get over it thing". If Espo was holed up in a bunker somewhere....living in the past, maybe I'd agree.
But he's not. He's moved on, he's having a good time, enjoying himself. He's saying what hundreds of ex NHLers are thinking when one of their old teams gets to the Cup finals. "Who gives a shiit".
Espositos attitude doesn't bother me a bit. I bet most posters here would feel the same way.