LFR8 – Game 41 – Phil – Wsh 6, Tor 2

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Since all we can talk about is Phil Kessel, let’s talk about Phil Kessel…

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  • A.Frankow

    Stevie D,

    You are a legend in the making. It’s amazing that a guy from Copper suite at CBC with a YouTube video series is doing more diligent journalism work in an opinion piece than most ‘accredited mainstream media’.
    Here is a shortlist of what I loved, in no particular order, and not exclusive to several other fantastic points.
    – TMZ call out, bingo. It’s real.
    – Giving real players the last word without selling the drama of naming them – I trust that the quotes are real and I wanted to know what they were thinking. The way you did it means we can continue to hear from them as they’ll talk to you in future. Why? Because you didn’t sell them out.
    -David Clarkson, wow, finally someone said it.

    Mark my words, there will be copy cats in other hockey towns who will pop up doing what you do, if not already. You have become necessary and oddly (in a good way) the voice of reason.

    Keep ’em comin’

  • Bester27

    Was sitting around the poker table last night during the game hearing these idiots ripping on Kessel (intermission show included) and was thinking, this guy just got attacked on TV, blamed for a guy losing his job, and being crucified by a city he just committed 8yrs to. How the F&$K would you expect him to play…

    Everyone knew what kind of player Kessel is when we got him, don’t get me wrong, I would love to see more Gilmourish heart come out of him, but I’m happy with 35-40 goals a season.

    Now we just need management to bring some leadership to compliment him. #TradePh9

  • A.Frankow

    I must admit David Clarkson is a massive flop as far as signings go. However, as an individual that has played hockey for years (For fun, rec leagues and competetive) It hurts me to see the frustration in Clarksons eyes. Anybody who has played hockey at any level wants to make a difference. You want to be a contributing factor to your team. Weather you are getting paid millions, or just a game of pick-up at the outdoors; you want to be a good player! Score goals, block shots, toss a few apples and earn respect because you’re not only a great guy (David) but you are doing something to help the team on the ice aswell. Once again, everyone has those games where no matter how hard you play, how determined you are to net a goal – it just doesn’t happen. I feel nothing but empathy for #71 cause God knows he is trying… He wants to show he is capable of living up to the contract he was given. Sadly his work ethic doesn’t render results. We have as fans have every right to be disappointed with a professional athlete whom is not living up the expectations. But as fellow hokcey players? I hope lady luck starts smiling at him so we can all feel great.

  • A.Frankow

    Kessel is what he is and may or may not change his stripes. He is still an exceptional talent and needs someone to cover for him – soccer has strikers – so does hockey. Burke and Nonis never solved the ‘who’s going to be Sundin, Gilmour or Sittler’ to Kessel. Poor Sundin played for years without a good winger, imagine if Kessel had been his wingman! Bozak never was or will be a #1C – the horse you need to carry Kessel. Gilmour became an all round player over time, maybe Phil can too?
    As for Clarkson, he had a couple of flukey years in Jersey bu was never a first liner worth $5 Mill. Not his fault – he got a good deal. Nonis wears this one – as well as Bolland’s, Phaneuf’s and Gardiner’s contracts. I am not sure any of these there will see the end of the year.

  • Ampegb5r

    The Leafs cannot win with a first line that does not
    match against other teams first lines.

    That continually gets hemmed in the defensive zone
    and doesn’t win fights along the boards for the puck.
    And gets scored on more than they score.

    I believe Kessel wants the opposition in the Leafs zone so he can utilize his speed to get high quality
    scoring chances breaking out of the Leafs zone.

    It was obvious to me that Kessel was not trying his best when not playing with Bozak. (and this defeats
    any attempt when a coach attempts to juggle his lines).

    To me this means Kessel is not a team player and is
    a cancer to the Leafs.

    -Against Washington Kessel had so many give- aways, and since when does Kessel not
    shoot when he has a clear path to the net????

    Kadri and Kessel should work-but I believe Kessel
    purposefully does not want it to work.

    1st trade Bozak to see if this changes Kessels attitude.
    Bozak’ value is high now and he is money in the bank on shoot outs. We should get a significant piece in return.

    Without change how can you expect history not to continue to repeat itself. As is,- the Leafs are flawed and the cancer needs to be cut out before
    the Leafs can ever be a contender.

    Kadri is our best center, Holland can be a #2 center. Too bad we still dont have Joe Colborne ,
    but Smith and Carrick will do for now.

    A rush team that has such a poor defensive ability will not succeed in todays NHL playoffs.

    The reason to give Clarkson time on the powerplay and to try to inflate his numbers is to try to make him attractive to another team so we can trade him and dump his contract……
    this is why we should not be ranting about Clarkson

    -get with the program. It might save use a couple of million dollars we might otherwise have to subsidize his salary for years and years.

    PS I miss capgeek!!!!!!!!!

  • A.Frankow

    nice Quotes
    but phil does need to be a two way player.
    It’s not clarkson’s fault he’s paid too much.
    He is giving everything he can, trade him if u can..
    Horachek is a good coach, let’s not hang him out to dry.

  • Poluza

    The two players that I like to compare Kessel to are Kane and Ovechkin.

    With Kane, you have a winger who drives the offence and has a great reputation because he plays on teams which are flooded with allstars and competent bums.

    With Ovechkin, you have a winger who drives the offence and has a questionable reputation. He was one considered the best/second best player because he was putting up points AND his team was successful. Now his team is less talented and lower in the standings and suddenly things like leadership and work ethic are brought up.

    With Kessel, you have a winger who drives the offence and has a terrible reputation. He has never played on a team with any significant talent since he was Savard’s winger in Boston. But that was eons ago and no one remembers that. Since then, kessel has consistently put up elite numbers with no support, yet his work ethic is questioned. His two-way play is questioned, but no one seems to notice his linemates JVR and Bozak drifting back on the backcheck. His dedication and leadership are questioned, but no one talks about how HE CHOSE to spend the meaningful years of his career wearing the blue and white.

    None of those wingers are two way players. So what? They all need a supporting cast who can cover for their mistakes and allow them to do what they do best. Isn’t that the definition of teamwork?

  • TGT23

    Dangle, while I respect your opinion I must say I disagree.

    Not about the hack job Feschuk has done to him, that I agree with you and the players you quoted about.

    But I believe Kessel is the teams biggest problem. A star player who neither acts like it on or off the ice.

    That display in the Minny game was unprofessional and child like. And to follow that up by blatantly not playing hard because you’re pouting that your best friend isn’t your C anymore.

    How can this team ever hope to ever get better when Kessel is anchoring them to Bozak and a top line that gets outperformed most nights?

    As for Clarkson, I can’t blame him for accepting the money he was offered. At least I have never doubted his effort this season. More than I can say for other players. Do I wish he sucked less? Sure. But I can’t knock him on the contract he was offered or the effort he gives for it.

  • jasken

    I dont mean to rain on your parade but In the wake of that loss Polak called out Toronto forwards for too often “blowing the zone” and “thinking offence before we even have the puck.” Interesting how this comes from right in the room.

    Think about these statements first of all if Kessel does it the rest of the forwards will do it. Is it Kessel’s fault they try to do what he does no but he can help stop it by not doing it to begin with.

    If Kessel tells his linemates we leave the zone together with the puck no cheating and anticipating a pass that is a start. It bleeds to the rest of the lines. Loss of ice-time or demotion is a huge blow for players.

    If Phaneuf’s partner dont do as instruct to take them off the defence pairing. Tell the others he didn’t do as instructed he loses top pairing.

    Kessel/Phaneuf success and failures are from their own design they have the power and players must be accountable. If Kessel does it each time he does he loses a shift, If Phaneuf does it loses a shift.

    Clarkson’s contract and his point production is so minor really its just something to divert attention from the real problems. Can the Leafs maintain consistency or was this just one of those lucky games they outshoot and possess opponents.

    As for Feschuk what he did was pretty ignorant he was asking what was said but really that could have been done another day not right after a firing. A classless act that was.

  • Bob's Hockey Stick

    I’d like to start off with saying that was a really well presented video. I respect that you took the time to interview players and get some some good feed back from them. I’ll agree what that columnist did was a cheap hachet job and he was outa line.

    Clarkson is what he is. Yes he’s vastly over paid but the Leafs management offered the man that contract. Yes The man accepted said contract. But he also has shown heart & soul. You don’t win without heart & soul guys on the team.

    As to Kessel….the Jury on him is defintely out. I would like to see Kessel play with a better center then Bozak.I feel Bozak’s a solid player whose style reminds me of a former leaf’s center, Matt Stajan.

    Now If you have Kessel playing with a true elite center. Say someone Like Kopitar from LA. ( Purely as an example ) then we might see Kessel’s overall play improve. However I’d add a caveat here. Kessel has shown throughout his career he’s one streaky player. When he’s motivated and hot he’s not just elite he can be Epic. When he’s running cold, yikes he just looks more like a Paul Ranhiem ( speedy winger but with hands of stone ). I don’t want to tear the player apart here, just going with how I’ve observed Kessel since his leaf debut.

    Now if Kessel actually has the questionable character that’s been suggested in and out of the media by various people. Then this is a problem. To me it would suggest you’d have to entertain possiblites of trading the player. Do I want to see Kessel Traded ? No not really, but this teams had some horrible bad habits develop over the past couple years. I’m not convinced it was entirely due to coaching.

    But Please continue doing the videos Steve, There a delight to watch and generally spot on.

    Cheers, Peace out.

  • Bester27

    james reimer is a better big bodied screen on the pp than clarkson guaranteed. he’s never used anyway so can we please try this? i bet he can get more points than clarkson. i would rather have reimer on the ice as a forward than clarkson on the ice at all.

  • Lumlums

    Long-time reader, first time poster. Great video as always, it’s great to see that there’s somebody else who shares many of the opinions that I have (get out of my head!), in addition to producing some snazzy t-shirts as well.

    Keep up the good work man!

  • TGT23

    In total agreement over Clarkson, he just cannot live up to that contract and it’s going to haunt the Leafs for many dark years to come. I think, thanks to that brief playoff appearance the Leafs had, management thought that the Leafs were better then they actually are and got Clarkson to bring in some playoff “grit”. Unfortunately, nobody can really say when the Leafs will make the playoffs again, so much for that playoff grit.

    As for Kessel, I’m not sure. I feel that we need another star on this team (a true 1C, obviously). It can’t be just Kessel anymore, he’s just not equipped to run the show. We can’t fault him for that but imagine how great he would be if he just turned his game up a notch. With his speed, he could really crash the net and cause chaos for opposing defensemen, but that drive just isn’t there.

    A question for anybody willing, can this team build around Kessel being thee MAIN man? It just sucks to think that we could of had a true 1C to build around but now it’s the reverse and with Bozak here it just feels like it’s not going to change and we won’t see any silverware in this town until Dangle turns gray.

  • This is your best season so far. And this is your best video of the year.

    Finally, a voice of reason.

    Polak deserves the captaincy based on his comments to the media.

    I’m sick of people saying Kessel is lazy and out of shape. Must be doing something right because.. HE HASN’T MISSED A GAME SINCE HE JOINED THE LEAFS AND HE HAS BEEN THEIR LEADER IN POINTS EVERY SEASON!

    Time for some of the other players to step up.

    And I’ll say it again.. POLAK FOR CAPTAIN!!!

  • Dawgfan1980

    Simply put, brilliant.

    The problem at the end of the day with the Toronto MSM is that the majority of fans don’t necessarily want to take the time to become educated. They enjoy the pretty colors, the drinking with buddies and the ability to have some sports knowledge.

    David Clarkson is a unique problem. It is hard to climb a peak while carrying an anchor of your own design. If Nonis can figure out a way to move that contract, he gets to stay as “Trade Magician” for another year. Otherwise, Mr. Clarkson needs to just talk to Uncle Leo and pattern his game after him. He can be that sort of player. For god sakes though, yank his ass off the PP. Panik deserves a chance to stand in front for awhile.

    Kessel, simply put, did what you should do to a passive-aggressive person, call them out and don’t let their reaction dictate your action. If you think he’s not a leader in the locker room after standing up to that cowardly question, psychology might be in order. The quotes from other NHLers kinda confirm what a slight cross-section of younger players in the league may think.

    This game felt a bit like a game that has the hallmarks of a win if the bounces go right. Maybe I’m being optimistic? I know that I’m happy and the firing earned nine more games of, “be patient”.

  • TGT23

    Nice work Steve. Keep it coming.

    I agree that Leafs fans are obsessed with blaming Kessel. Hopefully Nonis/Shanahan have more perspective than the majority of fans. If they do decide to trade Kessel they better get full value for him.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Steve — just chiming in here to echo others’ appreciation. You give voice to the feelings of many.

    One aspect you raise is the state of sports “journalism” in Toronto. Mirtle aside, it lags behind the public’s appreciation of the game or devotion to their team. After that exchange between Feschuk and Kessel, Macko and Cauz had him on the radio and went after him for being so belligerent. Their question was: what did F think Kessel was going to say to a question like that?

    Feschuk claimed he was just being honest. Good on Macko and Cauz for not buying his bull.

  • DiscipleOfThePhil

    Great work Steve. I particularly enjoyed the quotes from other NHLers, it was really refreshing to hear the other side of an issue like this for once. The constant need for a controversy to sell in Toronto is sickening, and I agree with the players completely. Keep up the good work!

    • DiscipleOfThePhil

      Autonomous quotes VS quotes lately from

      Bill Waters former GM Toronto ML
      Ron Wilson former coach TML
      Polak player TML Player
      Giguere former player TML

      After 2 successive coaches of the Leafs got fired
      and the Bruins actively trying to trade him
      then winning the cup without him.

      Feschuk is disrespecting him for asking the question
      are you difficult to coach?

      a real hardball question…….

      Listen to his quotes now up on the Leafs web site
      Kessel signed with the Leafs for $64M
      and he is unaware that the Leafs with their last lost have fallen out of a playoff spot .

  • Ampegb5r

    A good debate on the pros and cons of one Phil Kessel. Steve I have a home work assignment for you. As you point out you have been doing your pontifications for 5 years. I want you to go back, way back to the glory days of the Habs in the 1960’s and the Road runner, one Yvon Cournyer. A tremendous offensive talent who had his ass pinned to the bench by Hector Toe Blake for refusing to play a 200 foot game. Oh I know that was back in the stone age but Blakes teams won a lot of cups.

    You see Steve the problem with Kessel and one of the earlier posters nailed it by pointing out Phil Kessel on a at best mediocre team is cast into the position of being a leader. That being the case he has to show leadership even if he fakes it.

    Now imagine Crosby or Toews at training camp simply stating you know I didn’t work out in the off season and I’ve decided that I’m going to tell the coach I want this long leash so I can float around the blue line. I’ll avoid the heavy physical contact of getting the puck out of my zone.

    But that is the point Steve you can’t imagine that because Toews and Crosby are leaders and winners. They know that the other players and especially the young ones look to them for that leadership.

    Johnny Boychuk was interviewed the other day and was asked about young John Tavares, another young captain. I’m paraphrasing here but Boychuk said I knew he had all the talent in the world but I didn’t realize just what a hard worker he is, always trying to improve his game, first on the ice at a practice, last to leave, always trying to set an example.

    Steve I find you very entertaining and one of the reasons you are is you have the perfect foil, just as a talk host show has a gazillion loser politicians to feast on, you have the lovable loseable leafs. Sad news Steve for leaf fans but undoutably good news for you. Trust me you will be weeping and gnashing and rendering your leaf garments for a number of years as M.L.S.E. forces their gopher G.M. to sign Clarkson at all costs. Demands that Phaneuf get an out rageous huge contract.

    Steve one doesn’t have to be psychic to know that this summer the leafs will sign Bernier to a huge long term contract. Do us a favour Steve go talk to you N.H.L. buddies and ask them how good they think Bernier is. I think he is an above average goalie and their are lots in the league. Yet that Toronto media you talk about, yes reporters and columnists were pushing for Bernier to be the third goalie for the olympic team even though he had only about 100 career games. In fact a better question ask them what they think of Kessel’s attitude and style of play. Oh wait a minute Steve they already have, or have you forgotten the all-star game where Kessel got picked last.

    Trust me Steve keep kissing up to mediocrity and I guarantee you will continue to get mediocrity.

    Yep there are the King James, Derek Jeters, Syd the Kid, Jonathan Toews, Tom Brady’s of the world. Winners who display it to their team by example on and off their playing surface. Then there are the Phil Kessel’s of the world.

  • Poluza

    @ Stevie

    I’ve heard an interview recently with former Leafs
    GM B. Waters where he related about an incident where Carlyle asked Kessel to switch wings .
    He said he wouldn’t do it, Then Shanahan came to Phil and asked him to change wings and he said “no”.
    interview is available here


    Giguere an NHL player equated Toronto to pond hockey players in terms of their ability to play defense.

    Kessel said Feschuk treated “players with such disrespect”

    but How has Kessel treated the media in his time
    with Toronto …….
    one cliche after another ….not one usable quote
    I think he is the one who has treated the media with disrespect.

    How many millions has he and will he make in Toronto???
    He is above speaking to the media
    he is above listening to his coach or GM
    he doesn’t back check
    he only plays with the players he chooses or he doesn’t try.
    Phil Kessel is a cancer on the Leafs

    On the Kings Kessel would be like marian gaborik-the last piece to be added.

    On the Leafs he someone who undermines a “Team game”