Wax Stain Wednesday will be a regular feature on Dirty Dangle. Our pal Dave at Wax Stain Rookie is an avid autograph and card collector and has some cool experiences to share with us. Warning: these posts may make you want to buy a Beckett and get those dusty hockey cards out from under your bed that you hide from your girlfriend like a secret porn collection.
While Phil may wish to forget his time as an NHL GM, he did impact the game significantly both as a player and as a GM. As a player, there were very few better than the 10-time all-star. He blew the NHL records out of the water in 1970-71 when he scored 76 goals and 152 points. That season, Phil’s 76 goals were 18 goals higher than the previous record of 58 by Bobby Hull. What I really appreciate about Phil’s legacy is no player had ever beaten the previous goal scoring record by as much as Phil did. Even when Wayne Gretzky scored 92 goals, he only eclipsed Phil’s total by 16. During that same season, Phil set an NHL record for shots on goal in a season with 550, which still stands and the NHL record for points in a season with 152 (26 higher than the previous record). While the points total would eventually fall, Phil’s career totals still remain near the top to this day. During his career, Phil Esposito would score 717 goals and 1590 points which are good enough for 5th and 10th respectively as of today. Only Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne are threats to his 5th spot in goals and they are both a solid 40+ goal scoring season away from catching him.
Phil is often best remembered for what he did for his country rather than what he did in the NHL. During the ’72 Summit Series, Phil was the voice of the players and he nearly single-handedly took a team that was low in morale and turned the series around. I personally think it was his speech after game 4 and his stellar play (4 goals and 2 assists) in games 7 and 8 that cemented the win for Canada. Love him or hate him, Phil has played a huge role in hockey both in the NHL and internationally and certainly is one of the best to have ever played the game!
On to the cards:
my Ken Dryden auto, I elected to send along a card from the 91-92 Future Trends ’72 Summit Series set which Phil signed with the inscription “To Dave”. This return took over a year, but was totally worth the wait. I have much respect for what Phil has accomplished in his career and this card will be enjoyed by me for many years to come. Thanks Phil!