Legendary NHL bruiser and loudmouth Phil Esposito's Thunder and Lightning: A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir
reads like a transcript from a classic barstool bull session. And that's a good thing. Espo is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, he's an Order of Canada inductee--and a Canada Post stamp-boy, to boot. Yet he reveres no sacred cows, including himself, in these particular pages. While insight into his on-ice travails and numerous scoring records is scant, there is plenty of rumble and flash in behind-the-scenes glimpses of Espo's life and times with the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Team Canada, and post-playing days. Alas, "If I've offended anyone, tough shit. I'm not sorry."
The off-ice follies--drinking is usually involved--runs the gamut from womanizing to fork stabbings to a near-fatal water fight. Quite uncouth at times, the memoir is mostly a rollicking ramble that amuses with bluntness and grandstanding: former NHL exec and convict Alan Eagleson as "a crook and a liar" and the late ABC sports commentator Howard Cosell as "a sleazy old geezer." But there are also words from the heart: "Nothing hurt me more than having founded the [Tampa Bay] Lightning and having the fat cats with more clout, power, and money take my team away from me." Somewhat sadly, that's what ultimately resonates: the spectre of Espo as yet another sporting great who stays too long and is in the end mentally, if not physically, devoured by the game he "loved more than anything else." --Sigcino Moyo
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Colourful characters and crazy capers spill out of the pages – totally uncensored. The drinking, the skirt chasing and profanity remain.”
–Canadian Press (Vancouver Province,
, Ottawa Sun, Windsor Star,
“Thunder and Lightning, written with sports author Peter Golenbock, better portrays Esposito’s warts and his lust for life, revealing an R-rated, quick-witted, fiercely loyal competitor, a longshoreman on skates who packed his lunch pail with an unquenchable will to win.
“Esposito’s candour and storytelling are terrific.…”
, October 11, 2003
“Just like Esposito, the book is opinionated and to the point. This is the way he sees it and if that offends you, then too bad.”
–The Windsor Star
, November 11, 2003
“Funny and rollicking. Honest.”
, October 5, 2003
“Above all else, Espo is a talker. That makes for a good read.
“This is just a bunch of stories strung together that tell the story of a famous life – stories you’d love to sit around and listen to and laugh to, along with a cigar, a beverage, and big ol’ Espo himself.”
, October 29, 2003
“Its saltiness makes this one of the more honest sporting memoirs.”
, December 14, 2003
“Esposito, noted for the intensity of his emotions as well as his ability to score from the slot, delivers what publishers like to call a ‘rollicking’ good read.”
, November 20, 2003