VIDEO: Leafs fans boo Kessel's first touch of the puck in Toronto return

Thomas Drance
October 31 2015 05:25PM


(Courtesy: Hockey Night in Canada)

The Toronto Maple Leafs were desperate enough to deal star winger Phil Kessel this summer that they agreed to retain salary to facilitate the deal. And it would seem that at least a smattering of the Toronto faithful were cool with that decision.

On Saturday night the Maple Leafs hosted Phil Kessel's Pittsburgh Penguins at the Air Canada Centre, and Kessel was treated to a strong-ish smattering of boos when he first touched the puck, briefly, on his very first shift. You can hear the boos and watch the highlight in the vine embedded above.

Though Kessel is the best Maple Leafs winger in recent memory, the team has elected not to pay tribute to the American-born winger, who for all of his supposed faults was always worth the price of admission when he wore the blue and white sweater.

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LGD: Phil!

Justin Fisher
October 31 2015 01:54PM

It's not the first time the Toronto Maple Leafs have seen Phil Kessel in a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey, but it will be the first time Leafs fans see their former star winger suit up against them in Toronto. On Hockey Night in Canada, no less.

And apparently, there isn't expected to be any warm welcomes. Kessel himself says he expects to hear some boos while the Leafs organization has no plans to honour his return. It's a very weird situation, considering Kessel was very much the best player the Leafs had since Mats Sundin left for Vancouver and wasn't universally loved, but still very much liked.

Besides the drama surrounding Kessel's return, though, there's still hockey to be played. The Penguins got off to an uncharacteristically slow start this year with three straight losses, but have since gone 6-1 and will look to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings. The Leafs, on the other hand, have a single win on the season.

Yeah, this should be fun.

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The Leafs should probably give Kessel a montage

Jeff Veillette
October 31 2015 12:27PM

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Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs are bad at a lot of things. Anybody who has watched the team in the past, well, five decades can tell you that. The team has always found a way to be aggressively bad, or finish their season in catastrophic disappointment.

But man, if they're good at anything. It's honouring players. Even the nobodies. If you play for the Leafs and you come back to the ACC with another team, you better believe that you're getting a tribute on the scoreboard during one of the first couple of TV timeouts.

Unless you're Phil Kessel, apparently. 

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LFR9 - Game 9 - Upon Bad Review - Tor 1, NYR 3

Steve Dangle
October 31 2015 11:48AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 12.58.37 PM

Zuc scores, Lundqvist complains, and the Leafs may never win again.

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Sam Carrick, Tyler Bertuzzi suspended by AHL for last night's altercation

Jeff Veillette
October 31 2015 11:27AM

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The American Hockey League was quick to initiate punishment for last night's late-third period incident at Ricoh Coliseum, suspending Tyler Bertuzzi of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Sam Carrick of the Toronto Marlies.

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