It was quite a season. For the first time in history, the Hawks finished first. I had 21 goals, but a big fat zero in six playoff games as we got knocked out in the opening round. I knew that Roger wasn't impressed with me as a playoff performer. Still, in three seasons with Chicago I had scored 23, 27 and 21 goals. So what happened? I was traded to Boston. A last place club.For the first time in my hockey life I had been rejected. Guys talk about trades being part of the game. I suupose it's always in the back of your mind if you're a professional athlete. But when it happens - pow. It's a slap in the face. What it means to a guy is that someone doesn't think enough of him to keep him around. That was my reaction anyway. Maybe if you go from a bad club to a winner you're thrilled. But Boston? That was a last place team. They hadn't been in the playoffs since 1959. It was like the guys on the Hawks were consoling me at a wake. "You'll like it in Boston," they said. "It's a great hockey town." That wasn't my reaction, though. Ther was shame. I had scored 71 goals in three years, and my club thought they were getting someone better. Funny, isn't it, that the first thing you ask when you're told you've been traded is: "Who did they trade me for?" Then when you find out the guy's name, you try to reationalize that he's really pretty good, maybe even a bigger name than you are. Every guy I know who's ever been traded want's to know; "Who'd they get for me?"Yet, there was something positive about the Boston deal. For the first time I realized I was a celebrity. I never thought people knew my name or that the papers cared much about me. But when the trade was announced, I was the major figure in the deal. The Hawks had to get rid of me before I saw my name in big type. At Chicago I'd been overshadowed by Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Glenn Hall, Ken Warrham. All of a sudden, I was a big man in Boston. Together with Orr. And I liked that.
On a serious note, one of Phil's most memorable moments was his disappointment with the home fans after Game 4 of the 1972 Summit Series, where, always wearing his heart on his sleeve, Phil vents his frustration in front of the entire nation.
Another great video moment from YouTube, Phil Esposito, along with basketball star Bill Walton and football legend Dick Butkus, on the game show, "Wheel of Fortune"!