You ask and I take away. Hope you enjoy the return of the old comment tool.
So what does the post lockout world bring to Toronto?
Well, with Brian Burke dismissed, the Leafs playing up to capabilities and several weeks before the NHL trade deadline, NOTHING.
What’s a scribe to do?
Did you hear Dave, The Blanket Perkins on PTS last Friday?
Jeff Blair asked the group what they thought of the Leafs season so far.
“Paralysis by Analysis” The Blanket chuckled – yes I love that line….
I think at that time the season was all of 4 games old.
Phil Kessel hasn’t scored yet, let’s target that.
And Target they have.
For my 2 cents, the guy has always been in a no win situation from the moment he arrived.
The price tag was too rich, and was going to dog the strongest of guys for their entire career in Toronto. Kessel has proven to be the shy, quiet type, and well, that hasn’t exactly enamoured the doubters to him either. So unless he over-delivered this wasn’t going to end well.
Add in the weak cast of characters around him, abysmal performances by most and it’s the perfect storm for the leaf haters and MSMers out there.
I don’t often feel badly for pro athletes, but I do in this case feel for a guy who appears to a rather likeable character.
Today, there are two articles at least starting to talk about his future in blue and white.
Chris Johnston on Sportsnet is first:
“It was the wrong deal at the wrong time for a team that was rebuilding. Case closed.
However, it did at least net the Leafs a consistent 30-goal producer, which is clearly something of a value. So the question becomes: Could Kessel be turned into something more valuable for Toronto as a trade piece than what he has been as an established elite-level scorer?”
I think Damien Cox nails the answer in his article. First here:
“Whatever the case, it is becoming difficult to imagine a scenario in which Kessel remains a Leaf beyond the end of this season.
Part of that is, like Alex Anthopoulos with Vernon Wells, it becomes easier for the successor to exterminate the albatross than for he who attracted the burdensome seabird in the first place.
Unlike Burke, Nonis doesn’t have to defend the Kessel deal. No better way to cut ties with the past and move on than to move this player.”
and then here:
“the Leafs don’t want to lose him for nothing as an unrestricted free agent.
The ideal time to trade him would have been last summer, but Burke was still in charge and the lockout got in the way of everything.
Now, given the state of the team and the 25-year-old Kessel’s contractual status going forward, the April 3 trade deadline looms as the unofficial deadline to move this player, and there will be takers.
The kind of deal the Leafs should be looking for will be similar to that made by Columbus at last year’s deadline when Jeff Carter, then 27, was moved to the L.A. Kings for 25-year-old defenceman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick”
Keseel isn’t the guy to build a team around. The Leafs can’t afford to lose him for nothing and therefore he’s an asset that should be moved to acquire the right pieces given where the team is right now.
Irrespective of where you stand on the issue, unless he starts filling the net in a hurry, or there is something else to write about, the heat is going to be turned up on a guy who doesn’t appear to exactly love the attention.
Did you happen to catch Shannon on the same broadcast last Friday?
He was asked about Luongo. The answer was pure gold.
Shannon basically said that he believed the deal was done before and got undone as a result of the terms of the new cba and or the value the teams perceived based upon the length of the lockout or the deal itself. However he still thought it could happen.
So the pronouncement that the deal would occur when the lockout ended?
If you follow that logic, you may as well start buying your Wayne Gretzky MLSE President business cards….