Former New York Rangers’ center Phil Esopsito had a few words to say about the late Gordie Howe, and it was nothing less than classic.
Phil Esposito spent a total of six seasons with the New York Rangers, as the rest of his 18 year career was spent elsewhere. He started out in Chicago with the Black Hawks.
The NHL released this story just days after the hockey legend had died, and in it there are plenty of laughs.
It was in Espo’s rookie year where he came to meet the late Mr. Hockey himself in the 1963-64 season. It was only Esposito’s second game in the NHL before he got to meet the Detroit Red Wings’, and the NHL’s, best player.
The story goes that in the game which featured the Black Hawks and the Red Wings, Esposito was on the wing going against Detroit’s Howe.
“I got him,” Esposito said, and a smile came across Howe’s face. The faceoff happens and, well, Gordie Howe did what he would do in any situation; play the game. And the elbow Espo received was just a part of it.
It was in the penalty box where Howe figured out how much he meant to other players, because Esposito told him something very personal and inspirational.
He revealed that Howe was his idol growing up, and was very mad about the elbow he was given. Howe was in shock, and years later talked to Esposito about it in an All-Star game.
That, undoubtedly, left a lasting impact on one of the game’s greatest players.