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Thunder and Lightning: A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir

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Hall of Famer Phil Esposito takes fans into his storied career that saw him skate in 10 All-Star games, play for three of the most storied franchises in professional hockey--Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers--and become the first general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.


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Hall of Famer Phil Esposito takes fans into his storied career that saw him skate in 10 All-Star games, play for three of the most storied franchises in professional hockey--Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers--and become the first general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

30 review for Thunder and Lightning: A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Let's face it, today's hockey players are as dull as dishwater (and not particularly bright). Phil Esposito, hockey god from the 70's, is different. Always engaging and entertaining, one could never accuse him of being dull. I could hear his voice as I read the pages, that's Phil all right. Esposito, after winning the scoring title and playing on a Stanley Cup winning team, had to work construction in Sault Ste. Marie every summer to supplement his hockey income! Imagine that nowadays! Esposito r Let's face it, today's hockey players are as dull as dishwater (and not particularly bright). Phil Esposito, hockey god from the 70's, is different. Always engaging and entertaining, one could never accuse him of being dull. I could hear his voice as I read the pages, that's Phil all right. Esposito, after winning the scoring title and playing on a Stanley Cup winning team, had to work construction in Sault Ste. Marie every summer to supplement his hockey income! Imagine that nowadays! Esposito riffs on various people, Bobby Orr, Alan Eagleson, Harry Sinden, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and so many more. Best of all for we Canadians are his stories about the 1972 Canada/Russia series. Paul Henderson got the glory, but we wouldn't have won a thing without good old Espo. He was the heart and soul of our team, and wore his heart and our flag on his sleeve.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    This auto biography of Phil Esposito was superbly written by my brother, Peter Golenbock. It tells of Phil as a Bruin, a Ranger, a manager the man who founded the Tampa Bay Lightning. Great read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    A very upfront and personal memoir by a player who played the game as he spoke – opened and unabashed. This was certainly a book of memory lane for me as a kid – Phil and Tony Esposito were great hockey players born in Sault St. Marie, Ontario Canada. Hard to believe that Phil is nearly 80 years old now and that this memoir was published when he was 60 or 61 years old in 2003. The fondest memory for me in the pages within this book was the memory he gave to the Canada – USSR Hockey Series of 197 A very upfront and personal memoir by a player who played the game as he spoke – opened and unabashed. This was certainly a book of memory lane for me as a kid – Phil and Tony Esposito were great hockey players born in Sault St. Marie, Ontario Canada. Hard to believe that Phil is nearly 80 years old now and that this memoir was published when he was 60 or 61 years old in 2003. The fondest memory for me in the pages within this book was the memory he gave to the Canada – USSR Hockey Series of 1972. As a kid in elementary school we were sent to the gymnasium to watch either the live games in Canada or the taped games coming from the USSR. It was a fun time to be a kid, a hockey player and fan, and different time completely in both Canada and the United States. Not surprised that Phil’s mouth got him into more trouble than did anything else in his life, his finesse on the ice and desire to win was nothing short of apparent for hockey fans. His love for baseball extended to the New York Yankees and Mickey Mantle more specifically. He was, is, and always will be for those of us who love this game a Hockey Players sort of Player. He played with, for, and against some of the best the NHL had to offer in both the pre-and-post-expansion years of 1967. Originally with the Blackhawks of Chicago he would find his groove in Boston along the likes of Bobby Orr, Gerry Cheevers, John Bucyk, Wayne Cashman, Derek Sanderson, Ken Hodge and others. As a kid just before moving to Southern California with my parents, I recall having seen Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito reach out to Kate Smith after her rendition of God Bless America in Philadelphia as the Boston Bruins were playing the Philadelphia Flyers for what would be the final game (game 6) and first Stanley Cup for Philly in 1975. By attempting to hand Kate Smith a flower following the honorable presentation of the flag – Phil gave to Kate a flower in the hopes of breaking the hex the Flyers had in front of their home crowd. Philly fans being as true then as they are now, harassed Phil as he entered the team box rink side. He received the Order of Canada (OC), was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984 and had his number retired emotionally in 1986. Phil would divorce twice and is married a third time to the woman who is by all accounts the love of his life – criticisms of course can always be found but in this imperfect world with imperfect humans’ judgement is not for one person to render unto another in my opinion. Ken Dryden of the Montréal Canadiens still has in my opinion the best all around sports memoir that I have read thus far. I would hope that before Phil Esposito turns 80 he would come back and do what Ken Dryden has done and update the memoir with life after Hockey, but keeping to the tradition of what Ken Dryden has done and not change anything in the first edition. A great read – sports fans will not be disappointed and Peter Golenbock did a wonderful job tying this all together.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mike Balsom

    One does not read a book written by Phil Esposito for its prose and flowery use of the English language. In fact, the cover of the book pretty much tells it like it is, with the use of words like "ribald" in it description of the contents. Phil is pretty much what you expect Phil to be throughout this life-in-hockey memoir. He doesn't reveal a lot about his life prior to his hockey career, as player, coach, owner and president with Chicago, Boston, New York and Tampa Bay. But, as you can imagine One does not read a book written by Phil Esposito for its prose and flowery use of the English language. In fact, the cover of the book pretty much tells it like it is, with the use of words like "ribald" in it description of the contents. Phil is pretty much what you expect Phil to be throughout this life-in-hockey memoir. He doesn't reveal a lot about his life prior to his hockey career, as player, coach, owner and president with Chicago, Boston, New York and Tampa Bay. But, as you can imagine, the stories are something else! Some of them leave you wondering why he told them. I mean, who really needs to know about Phil and his teammates walking in on wrestling superstar Andre the Giant having sex with an adoring fan? And come to think of it, Esposito comes across as a misogynist throughout the book. One wonders what Peter Golenbock was thinking as he transcribed Phil's tapes. He must have been blushing throughout. Worth a read if you are a fan of classic Original Six hockey. Otherwise, stay away!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jay Rain

    Rating - 7.4 More interested in the General Manager/Tampa Bay saga then the actual childhood and playing days of one of the all-time hockey greats - feel sympathy for all the bs that comes w power Comes across as the chip on the shoulder/others persons fault sort of story and do not feel an iota of sympathy for his philandering ways either; Could be a far more engaging writing style

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Espo really can tell a story. Great memoir, a must read for any Bruins, Rangers or Tampa Bay fan. Love the stories of his playing days and really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at his role in the Tampa Bay franchise coming to fruition.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Will Eastman

    I liked this book by Phil Esposito because unlike most auto-biography's on athletes, he explains his life after his playing career. Most of the book was about after his time playing then when he was actually playing. It does not just explain he scored this many points in this many games in this season. It explains his life such as his marriage, his kids, his brother, where he is from and more. I liked this book because he did something bigger outside of his playing career by starting a hockey fr I liked this book by Phil Esposito because unlike most auto-biography's on athletes, he explains his life after his playing career. Most of the book was about after his time playing then when he was actually playing. It does not just explain he scored this many points in this many games in this season. It explains his life such as his marriage, his kids, his brother, where he is from and more. I liked this book because he did something bigger outside of his playing career by starting a hockey franchise team, The Tampa Bay Lighting. This is one of my favorite auto-biography's on a athlete that I have ever read. My favorite genre is auto-biography so that is mostly what I read and I really liked this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ashley H.

    The writing is overly simplistic at times, which makes it a quick read, but can also make you feel like you're reading a third grader's account of things. That being said, the stories are interesting and at times hilarious. Epso is a piece of shit husband who cheated on his first two wives, but at least he admits he's a piece of shit, which makes him alright in my book. The writing is overly simplistic at times, which makes it a quick read, but can also make you feel like you're reading a third grader's account of things. That being said, the stories are interesting and at times hilarious. Epso is a piece of shit husband who cheated on his first two wives, but at least he admits he's a piece of shit, which makes him alright in my book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Victor Saville

    run of the mill hockey book good story about Tampa Bay Lightning and Phil's part in that too much info about players at times run of the mill hockey book good story about Tampa Bay Lightning and Phil's part in that too much info about players at times

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jack Youd

    The life of a hockey player in the 60's/70's seems like a whole world away from the life of a hockey player these days. The brutal honesty throughout the book made for great stories and the Tampa Bay Lightning fiasco can't help you feeling bad for him. Great read. The life of a hockey player in the 60's/70's seems like a whole world away from the life of a hockey player these days. The brutal honesty throughout the book made for great stories and the Tampa Bay Lightning fiasco can't help you feeling bad for him. Great read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Collin Insley

    Look, you've gotta have a pretty good idea of what you're gonna get it when you read Phil Esposito's so-called autobiography. It's long on yarns that paint a fun picture of the 70s NHL and short on insight and substance. I'd love to read a biography that actually asked critical questions and probed tricky areas. Instead, Thunder and Lightning is essentially a stream of consciousness transcript of what it might be like to sit next to Espo in a bar. Which isn't so bad, but you also know you're jus Look, you've gotta have a pretty good idea of what you're gonna get it when you read Phil Esposito's so-called autobiography. It's long on yarns that paint a fun picture of the 70s NHL and short on insight and substance. I'd love to read a biography that actually asked critical questions and probed tricky areas. Instead, Thunder and Lightning is essentially a stream of consciousness transcript of what it might be like to sit next to Espo in a bar. Which isn't so bad, but you also know you're just scratching the surface.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jason Gillespie

    As in most sports figure biography attempts, the story run heavy on personal reflection and disjointed memories. This book was really entertaining, especially after his playing days ended. His drive and desire to bring hockey to Florida was very engaing and i really enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes look at the business of obtaining financing. Phil is one of my all time favorites. Hugely loyal to the Bruins, it was sad to see him reflect on his trade and his personal feelings regarding the en As in most sports figure biography attempts, the story run heavy on personal reflection and disjointed memories. This book was really entertaining, especially after his playing days ended. His drive and desire to bring hockey to Florida was very engaing and i really enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes look at the business of obtaining financing. Phil is one of my all time favorites. Hugely loyal to the Bruins, it was sad to see him reflect on his trade and his personal feelings regarding the end of his career in Boston. A great read for hockey fans and especially for Bruins fans. Enjoy!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jay Royston

    I've read probably a dozen hockey-related books and this by far is one of the most candid bios I've encountered. Phil retired before my time but his legend is strong. I especially liked his transition of life after hockey playing - from his experience as a coach to his efforts in establishing the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise. He's a man who called his shots and fell victim perhaps to his own ego when it came to Tampa and playing with the Big Boys in financing. Very engaging read. I've read probably a dozen hockey-related books and this by far is one of the most candid bios I've encountered. Phil retired before my time but his legend is strong. I especially liked his transition of life after hockey playing - from his experience as a coach to his efforts in establishing the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise. He's a man who called his shots and fell victim perhaps to his own ego when it came to Tampa and playing with the Big Boys in financing. Very engaging read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Certainly nothing special in terms of an athlete's memoir. Lots of ego, not a whole heck of a lot of insight. Some of the backstage machinations behind building the Tampa Bay Lightning are intriguing if only to illustrate some of the backhanded business involved, but again Phil's own self-importance glazes over the truth with his spin. Certainly nothing special in terms of an athlete's memoir. Lots of ego, not a whole heck of a lot of insight. Some of the backstage machinations behind building the Tampa Bay Lightning are intriguing if only to illustrate some of the backhanded business involved, but again Phil's own self-importance glazes over the truth with his spin.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dave Thorner

    As I was reading this book it felt like Phil himself was telling me his life story. That the title is 'No B.S.' is fitting. Well written and to the point. Being a hockey junkie, this was a good book that I chose to read because of its content. As I was reading this book it felt like Phil himself was telling me his life story. That the title is 'No B.S.' is fitting. Well written and to the point. Being a hockey junkie, this was a good book that I chose to read because of its content.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Belisle

    Growing up, Espo was my idol. I remember where I was the day the Bruins traded him to the Rangers. I still call him the best interview in sports. He shoots from the hip -- with respect. A goal scorer and a great, determined guy. Who else could bring hockey to Florida? Only Espo.

  17. 5 out of 5

    George Hamblen

    As Life-Long Bruins fan.... this was a must read. Forever in our hearts... Made Boston sports special in the 70's As Life-Long Bruins fan.... this was a must read. Forever in our hearts... Made Boston sports special in the 70's

  18. 4 out of 5

    bruce davidson

    excellent read for any hockey fan.. phil uses the f bomb a lot but it is a good read

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marcus

    he names names which makes this book interesting

  20. 5 out of 5

    David

    highly recommended for any sports/hockey fan...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rickbarna

    I liked this better than The Game, but being a Bruins fan I'm a bit biased. If you're a fan of olde tyme hockey, the Bruins, or Espo I'd recommend it. I liked this better than The Game, but being a Bruins fan I'm a bit biased. If you're a fan of olde tyme hockey, the Bruins, or Espo I'd recommend it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    3 STARS I am not big of Hockey but this is still a great memoir.

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Basque

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julia Payne

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter Maharajh

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cmoniz

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason Saunders

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dave Pepka

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