Two Cents on Kesselgate

What did he say, how did he say it, how should it be interpreted all totally irrelevant. I love how the Leafs players turned this into the media blowing something out of proportion. You can’t say something was misconstrued when there is complete audio and video readily available for all to hear and see.

For Tim Brent and his teammates to go on TV and say things like, “oh you guys in the media like to start this stuff is crap.”

Look, or read at what Leafs GM Brian Burke told the Toronto Star:

I thought the clear interpretation people would have is he wants out of Toronto or he thinks there should be a coaching change,


The first thing I “tweeted” when I read the article about this was I want to hear the audio. Jonas over at 640 posted the audio. Once I heard the clips, it was apparent what Kessel had exactly said.

There is absolutely no question as to what Kessel said. None. No one in the media created this “firestorm”. He did, when he said what he did.

I said to him, ‘You understand that you lit a fuse here?’ And he did, he understood how it sounded. But he said what had come out was not what he meant.<\em>


That’s fine. I have no problem with, I said it, but I didn’t mean it. I don’t have a problem with I didn’t realize what I was saying, or that’s not what I meant to say. Those are all fully acceptable responses the day after you say something that happens to catch fire.

Saying that the media blew it out of control, well, that’s just crap.

As a youth hockey coach I’ve always been taught and believed in the 24 hour rule. You don’t say anything to anyone to which you may later regret for 24 hours. Now, that’s not easy for a professional hockey player. It’s even more complicated when you have a throng of microphones in your face day after day asking the same old question. Kudos for Kessel for speaking to the press and not telling them where he wished they would stick it. He has a reputation for being a guy who is not entirely comfortable in front of a microphone. Perhaps in this instance he would have been better served to say ‘not today guys.’ Easier said then done, I appreciate.

However, for Kessel or any of his teammates to try to turn this on its head, and to blame the media (who have been prone to blow things out of proportion) for this one is nonsense. He said it and he should have just admitted a mistake.



The Star article is here

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February 8, 2011 11:51 pm

How can what Kessel say be intrepreted in any way but literally, the guy’s not smart enough to think any more deeply than that. Hes obviously not happy with the situation and pressure in Toronto from the coach and possibly the fans. You know the spindoctors at MLSE were staying up all night Sunday trying to think of a way to blame the media on this one. Theyve got a guy who’s untradeable and Burkes got about one more bullet to fire in getting rid of the coach at the end of the year and then two more years at the helm.

February 9, 2011 8:11 am

Of course the players will blame the media for distortion of facts, that’s what the coach & GM do on a near daily basis. Luckily the Leafs have their “spin” control media friends like Damian Cox to get their message across.

February 9, 2011 8:14 am

If this was Columbus or Carolina and only 3 reporters heard him say all of that and it made its way onto TV and radio, the same thing would happen.
Here in Toronto, dozens of reporters and millions of fans all heard the same thing and all presumed he wanted a trade, or to get Wilson fired or both. (and I don’t blame him for wanting either) Too bad no one thought to challenge his statement and ask him to clarify what he meant by things aren’t working out here and it’s time for a change

Gerry (burlington)
Gerry (burlington)
February 9, 2011 8:28 am

I never thought it was blown out of proportion, in fact, having heard the comments shortly after it occurred I expected a bigger reaction. I was particularly surprised to hear how many people were taking Kessels side (Jeff Blair).

This is eerily similar to Kessel wanting out of Boston. The concept of he needs to mature still holds no water with me, given he played this game before.

I do recognize that playing for Wilson can be a challenge, but in reality he has not played well, with or without that special centreman.

However, we won’t be hearing from Kessel for a long time now.

This has to be Wilson’s last straw, I am sure this summer a new coach will be introduced to us.

February 9, 2011 11:26 am

I am not sure how anyone can take what Kessel said out of context. His comments lit the fuse on the powder keg and when it blew up he wore the mess. I heard Glenn Healy’s comments on PTS that someone should have followed up with the trade question. Perhaps he is right. This is a player who eschews the spotlight and by all reports is the most difficult to engage, yet, he was more than available and his comments were simple and direct.

Does anyone think had Kessel done the same thing in Boston while a Bruin, it would have been ignored by the press there?

I am tired of the conflict between the Leafs and the local media, especially Wilson. In my mind, the players are simply echoing the sentiments often expressed in both Burke’s and Wilson’s derisive comments about life in the Toronto fish bowl.

I may be alone in this view, but I believe the media is the fan’s window on the franchise. The image and tone presented to the media, overtime, translates to the fan base’s perception of how the team views them.

There are rumblings that cracks are beginning to appear in the sale of luxury boxes. Perhaps it is time they heed Shannon’s advice and start with some basic media training in advance of fixing the damn product!

I am a long time Habs fan, but truly believe Leaf fans deserve better – on all accounts.

February 9, 2011 6:59 pm

Ah, see what happens when you don’t close an italics tag? We’re all bent sideways…


I don’t put a lot of stock in leadership in any context, but I will admit that leaders help define the cultural parameters of an organization. For example, a leader who thinks it’s perfectly fine to swear and scream at employees will likely foster an environment that:

a) Attracts similarly-inclined employees/colleagues
b) Repels those who fall outside of that framework
c) Converts those who are on the fence

My point is, is that Willson’s MO is anti-media. It’s built into the fabric of how he communicates. And so it doesn’t surprise me at all that a “nice boy” like Tim Brent, who should be enjoying his cup of coffee at the NHL level while it lasts (can someone say Todd Warriner?), would spout something anti-media.

To me, Willson has or will infect all of the players in this market to be anti-media. Ostensibly, I’m sure he does it because he thinks the media is evil. Truly, it’s because he has extremely low emotional intelligence, and simply lacks interpersonal competence.

For a self-professed ‘teacher’ he seems to have stopped learning a long, long time ago.

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