The Curious Case of Phil Kessel

phil kessel

Greetings from the Motor City. Just here for a short visit and I know that Eggbert worries when I don’t share with you where I am.

Interesting article by Damien Cox in today’s Toronto Star. The gist of the article is that the Toronto Maple Leafs owe their president and general manager, Brian Burke a huge effort tonight vs. the Boston Bruins. Burke, you may have heard, dealt away a couple of first round draft picks (plus a second I believe) in exchange for Phil Kessel. Many in the media have questioned Burke’s sanity in making such a deal. Burke, to his credit has stuck to his guns, never throwing his team under the proverbial bus despite what many have been thinking. So, as the season winds to a close and the Bruins loving every minute of a rather dismal Maple Leafs season it looks like at least this years draft choice(s) are going to be very high (with a shot of being #1 in the lottery). Therefore, if the Leafs put up a good show tonight against the Bruins they can show their GM their appreciation.

On a number of occasions I have been told that Kessel isn’t a locker room favourite on the Maple Leafs. I have never been told the specifics on why he isn’t well liked, and I take it with a grain of salt. In any event, Kessel hasn’t been, according to both Cox and others in today’s papers, very effective vs. the Bruins this year. He has 1 assist in 5 games, of which the Leafs have only been able to win 2. Is it possible that the Leafs ineffectiveness against Boston could be as much about them not approving of Kessel as a victory tonight would be about them showing appreciation for Burke?

I understand Kessel’s need to turn it on tonight (not sure why tonight is different than any other game vs the Bruins- pardon the passover pun). He, one would think would really want to play well against his former team. His doing so could be suggestive. However, if his team fails to show up tonight or doesn’t put in that extra effort is that indicative of anything? If the Leafs dominate tonight, win by a large margin and clearly outplay the Bruins it is likely that we will be told they did it for Burke, as Cox suggests. Isn’t the inverse true too? If they get slaughtered did they do so for Kessel?

I’m just asking……

Cox is here

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

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