Phil Esposito had a couple of tips a month earlier for Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning captain parked at 497 objectives and in the middle of a six-game scoring dry spell.
” I texted Steven and informed him, ‘Don’t stress over whether you’ll get to 500, you will. It’s simply a matter of time,'” Esposito stated Thursday from Tampa.
That time came Wednesday, Stamkos scoring Nos. 500, 501 and 502 in a 5-2 triumph at the Vancouver Canucks.
Stamkos ended up being the 47 th gamer in NHL history to rating 500 objectives. He signed up with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin(810) and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby(528) as the 3rd active gamer to reach the turning point, the 23 rd in history to do it with one NHL group.
” I informed Steven, ‘Just keep attempting to play in addition to you can. The much better you play, the more possibilities you’ll get. And simply keep shooting the puck,'” Esposito stated of his messages of support.
Steven Stamkos with colleague Victor Hedman in the Tampa Bay Lightning dressing space Wednesday, Stamkos having actually scored objectives No. 500, 501 and 502 versus the Vancouver Canucks. Courtesy Tampa Bay Lightning
Stamkos’ three-goal flurry versus the Canucks was his 11 th profession hat technique in 965 regular-season video games.
Esposito, co-founder of the Lightning franchise who today is a radio expert for their house video games, had 32 hat techniques in between 1967-79 for the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, 36 counting the postseason. He played 1,282 video games for the Chicago Black Hawks, Bruins and Rangers from 1963-81, on his method to 1984 Hall of Fame induction.
It took Esposito 6 video games to receive from 490 to 500 in his profession, scoring his 500 th on Dec. 22, 1974, in his 803 rd video game. He would retire in 1981 with 717 objectives and 873 helps; when he hung up his skates, just Gordie Howe had more objectives and points.
Stamkos reaching 500 objectives “was inescapable,” Esposito stated of the explosive center, who has actually played his whole profession with Tampa Bay.
Steven Stamkos and Phil Esposito at Amalie Arena following a ritualistic face-off on Oct. 6,2017 Scott Audette/Getty Images
” He responded to my message about shooting the puck by stating, ‘Thanks a lot, Phil, I comprehend that. Often I get brought away attempting to be a great colleague,'” Esposito stated.
” I texted him back and stated, ‘Goal-scorers are self-centered. If you’re going to be an excellent goal-scorer, often you need to be. You do not suggest to be self-centered, however you’re a shooter.’
” I informed him, ‘You’ve constantly been a shooter, that’s your method operandi. Consider yourself in junior, the year you entered the League (2008-09), the year you scored 60 objectives (2011-12). Look the number of shots on net you had then (an NHL career-high 303).'”
As a male who assisted bring the Lightning to life, Esposito takes fantastic pride in the reality that Stamkos has actually been with the group because he was the No. 1 choice in the 2008 NHL Draft. There was massive speculation that he would check unlimited totally free company on July 1, 2016, however he signed an eight-year agreement with the Lightning 2 days earlier to sit tight.
Steven Stamkos in a 2008 NHL Draft picture. Getty Images
” I am delighted to move on with the Lightning today for the next 8 years,” Stamkos stated at the time. “It’s rarely that a gamer gets the opportunity to invest his profession in one company and I am confident that this contract sets me on that course with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Most notably, I anticipate dealing with my colleagues, coaches and our management in our objective of winning a Stanley Cup.”
Sure enough came back-to-back champions in 2020 and 2021.
” Steven is the face of the Lightning, there’s no doubt about it,” Esposito stated. “People make a huge offer that he remained here rather of signing in other places when he had the opportunity to move.
” My take is, why would you wish to go anywhere else when you can make simply as much cash through the tax system here (in Florida) as you would anywhere else, and you’re the king?
Phil Esposito ratings profession objective No. 273, beating Toronto goalie Bernie Parent on April 3, 1971, his very first of 2 objectives that night. Graphic Artists/Hockey Hall of Fame
” Your household can go to the grocery story after you’ve had a bad video game and they’re not troubled. Tampa is a significant hockey market, however I feel for the men who highlight in Toronto and Montreal. They’re acknowledged continuously, all over they go, particularly now in Toronto. The Maple Leafs are a great group that I believe definitely ought to be thought about among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.”
The Lightning left Vancouver right away after the video game Wednesday video game, flying to Edmonton for their video game Thursday versus the Oilers (9 p.m. ET; ESPN, SNW, SN NOW).
Esposito was back on his phone prior to twelve noon on Thursday to text his congratulations to Stamkos, who may have been sleeping at 9 a.m. MT.
” I texted Steven due to the fact that I’m really delighted for him,” Esposito stated.
Then, with a laugh:
” I understand it was early, however Steven’s a hero. If he were a (jerk), I would not have actually troubled.”
Top picture: Tampa Bay Lightning gamers and personnel collect around Steven Stamkos in their dressing space in Vancouver on Wednesday night to commemorate their captain’s 500 th profession objective. Courtesy Tampa Bay Lightning