TONY ESPOSITO AUTHENTIC AUTOGRAPHED FRAMED AND MATTED BLACKHAWKS JERSEY
For 1969–70, the Chicago Black Hawks claimed him from Montreal on waivers, known at the time as the "intra-league draft". Esposito had a spectacular season with Chicago, posting a 2.17 GAA and setting a modern day NHL record with fifteen shutouts, for which he won the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie. He also took the Vezina Trophy and was named to the First All-Star team at season's end. He also was runner-up for league MVP (Hart Trophy). It was during this record setting season he earned the nickname Tony 'O' for his shutout abilities. In 1970–71, he again proved to be one of the league's top goalies and helped Chicago finish first in the NHL's West division. The Black Hawks made it to the Stanley Cup Final, but lost in seven games to Montreal. The following season he posted the lowest GAA of his career (1.77) and shared the Vezina with backup Gary Smith. He was again selected to the NHL's First All-Star team.
Esposito was named to Team Canada for the Summit Series of September, 1972. He was the first goalie to earn a win against the Soviets, splitting Canada's goaltending duties with Montreal's Ken Dryden. Esposito posted both the lowest GAA and the highest save percentage of the three goalies (Esposito, Ken Dryden, and Vladislav Tretiak) who appeared in the series. Tony's brother Phil had an exceptional series as well and was the inspirational leader of the team.
Despite the loss of Bobby Hull, Esposito and the Hawks led their division in 1972–73, but lost the Stanley Cup in six games to Montreal. 1973–74 was another brilliant season with a sparkling 2.04 GAA and 10 shutouts. Esposito won his third Vezina, sharing it with Philadelphia's Bernie Parent.
The Black Hawks declined over the next few seasons although Esposito remained among the top netminders in the NHL. In 1979–80, Esposito enjoyed a fine season with six shutouts and made the First All-Star team for the third time. In 1981, he became a naturalised American citizen and played for Team USA in the Canada Cup (he had previously represented Canada at the 1977 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament). He played a few more seasons in the Windy City, retiring after the 1983–84 season.
Esposito was one of just eight goalies to win the Vezina catching the puck right-handed. The other seven were fellow Black Hawks' legend Charlie Gardiner (in 1932 and 1934), the New York Rangers' Davey Kerr (1940), ambidextrous Montreal goalie Bill Durnan (1944—47, 1949 and 1950), the New York Rangers' Gilles Villemure (1971), Tom Barrasso of the Buffalo Sabres (1984), Edmonton Oilers' Grant Fuhr (1988) and José Théodore of the Montreal Canadiens in 2002.
Esposito was the first NHL Goalie to officially wear the number 35, a common number now worn by many Goaltenders. It was assigned to him during training camp prior to the Chicago Black Hawks 1969-'70 season due to the fact that the standard numbers 1 and 30 were already assigned, and after posting a shutout in his first ever exhibition game for the Hawks, he chose to keep wearing the number going on to a Hall of Fame career. His number 35 was retired by the Blackhawks on November 20, 1988.
Esposito was noted as being superstitious, becoming upset by crossed hockey sticks and regularly lining up his hockey sticks in a particular way.A great item already framed and matted framed at 43 x 35 in size it'll make the perfect holiday or birthday gift or to hang in your MAN CAVE. Certified by JSA. . Thanks for looking!