Author Topic: So, about Phil Kessel...  (Read 50099 times)

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Offline cw

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #45 on: March 29, 2015, 11:46:56 AM »
From the Game Day thread:

Good to see that the top line rediscovered their moral character.

Kessel got unfat.

And are we are still doing that strange Kessel loves cheeseburgers thing (I still don't understand why this started other than Kessel having a wide face). If so, I don't think it's a coincidence that Kessel puts up 3 points on the day that Hammond doesn't play. 

There can be only one!

Phil has had something to do with it over the years. It's a mixed bag.

The criticism probably got wider spread when Gare Joyce closely followed the 2006 draft and wrote a book about it and an ESPN article on it that came out shortly after Phil was drafted. Among other things, the book revealed a scouting report that portrayed Phil as needing  "to work a little harder in the gym, practise a little harder" which Phil partially agreed with and did not heartily dispute in the book and documented Kessel's poor fitness testing at the 2006 draft combine (which was corroborated by others).

Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean appears to feel sorry for him. “If what they’re saying about this kid isn’t true, it’s criminal,” MacLean says. “Because I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the negative stuff like I have with this kid.”

Understandably, Kessel, his agent were upset by the article. The Bruins looked into it and tried to defend their recent #1 pick. But I saw no public threats of defamation lawsuits, demands for retractions, apologies or specific rebuttals. At the time, the Kessel camp couldn't muster much of a credible assault or defense to change the public record or perception.

The kicker was that Kessel's response to the July 2006 ESPN article was to show up a little chubby to training camp the following September. That raised a few more eyebrows in the Boston media and basically cemented the perception.

Those were followed by other anecdotes or video clips over time that didn't flatter his conditioning.

Now, the other side of the mixed bag is: there's no way a player can have the explosive speed and shot Kessel does and be totally out of shape. One cannot be 4th in NHL goal scoring over the past four seasons and be in terrible physical condition. It is just NOT possible. I think Cox reported good fitness test results this past September.

So both things have been shown to exist somewhat at the same time. Phil kind of has physical talent to spare and arguably isn't as good as he could be because he isn't in the best possible shape he could be. It's an aspect about him that confounds.

When a player follows the above with comments like this:
Kessel: ‘I skated 10 times maybe all summer’
“Honestly, I skated maybe—I don’t want to tell you this—but I skated 10 times maybe all summer,” Kessel revealed to reporters Thursday in Toronto as training camp opened.

Kessel said he spends most of his summer “living a normal life” by relaxing, golfing, hanging out with family and friends and fishing. He added that one of the highlights of his off-season was catching an 11-foot, 450-pound shark.

“I don’t talk hockey or have anything to do with hockey in the summer,” Kessel explained. “I probably take a month off. I live in Florida in the summer, so I go down there and golf and fish and do that kind of stuff and get away, and then I’ll start working out again.”

When asked about the team’s fitness testing, Kessel said he’s not worried.

“I think I’ll be fine in that,” he said. “It’s easy.”

Kessel said he’ll use training camp and the pre-season as a means to get into hockey shape.

“It’s pre-season, so it’s time to get used to the games and get more in shape and kind of get a feel for the game a little bit again,” Kessel said. “It’s been a while since I’ve played.”

While Kessel is sometimes ribbed for his not-quite-Herculean physique, he has proven to be one of the elite scorers in the NHL.


... I think in this hockey media crazed market, making comments like those is just asking for it. Not too smart. Raises doubts. Misleads one from his true fitness levels. And fuels the hamburger cracks and ridicule.

A bunch of this is Phil's fault or responsibility.

Offline Tigger

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #46 on: March 29, 2015, 12:41:33 PM »
Burke made a few nice trades for other players but you don't build a contender through trades and UFA signings in the current NHL. You just run out of resources and you don't quite get what you need, anyway.

Reminds me of Cliff Fletcher finding some of that out in Toronto. Unlike Burke, he got a contending team team together for a couple of runs with a lopsided Gilmour trade. But his policy of draft-schmaft had them unable to replenish an aging roster and take them over the top. In fact, it rapidly fell apart.

It was a different era but the same general pattern in trying to slap a roster together and running out of young assets that Leafs GMs have done in various ways for decades.

I've read that there were some tremendous pressures to produce a winner at the time and I can't exactly remember but the draft schmaft quote was in relation to the Yushkevich trade? I don't think he really had a 'policy' like that, in fact if you listen to him here with Jim Tatti, it sounds like he was planning to build the team the way we'd more or less agree is correct.

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Offline TDotMassive

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #47 on: March 29, 2015, 01:07:08 PM »
From the Game Day thread:

Good to see that the top line rediscovered their moral character.

Kessel got unfat.

And are we are still doing that strange Kessel loves cheeseburgers thing (I still don't understand why this started other than Kessel having a wide face). If so, I don't think it's a coincidence that Kessel puts up 3 points on the day that Hammond doesn't play. 

There can be only one!

Phil has had something to do with it over the years. It's a mixed bag.

The criticism probably got wider spread when Gare Joyce closely followed the 2006 draft and wrote a book about it and an ESPN article on it that came out shortly after Phil was drafted. Among other things, the book revealed a scouting report that portrayed Phil as needing  "to work a little harder in the gym, practise a little harder" which Phil partially agreed with and did not heartily dispute in the book and documented Kessel's poor fitness testing at the 2006 draft combine (which was corroborated by others).

Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean appears to feel sorry for him. “If what they’re saying about this kid isn’t true, it’s criminal,” MacLean says. “Because I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the negative stuff like I have with this kid.”

Understandably, Kessel, his agent were upset by the article. The Bruins looked into it and tried to defend their recent #1 pick. But I saw no public threats of defamation lawsuits, demands for retractions, apologies or specific rebuttals. At the time, the Kessel camp couldn't muster much of a credible assault or defense to change the public record or perception.

The kicker was that Kessel's response to the July 2006 ESPN article was to show up a little chubby to training camp the following September. That raised a few more eyebrows in the Boston media and basically cemented the perception.

Those were followed by other anecdotes or video clips over time that didn't flatter his conditioning.

Now, the other side of the mixed bag is: there's no way a player can have the explosive speed and shot Kessel does and be totally out of shape. One cannot be 4th in NHL goal scoring over the past four seasons and be in terrible physical condition. It is just NOT possible. I think Cox reported good fitness test results this past September.

So both things have been shown to exist somewhat at the same time. Phil kind of has physical talent to spare and arguably isn't as good as he could be because he isn't in the best possible shape he could be. It's an aspect about him that confounds.

When a player follows the above with comments like this:
Kessel: ‘I skated 10 times maybe all summer’
“Honestly, I skated maybe—I don’t want to tell you this—but I skated 10 times maybe all summer,” Kessel revealed to reporters Thursday in Toronto as training camp opened.

Kessel said he spends most of his summer “living a normal life” by relaxing, golfing, hanging out with family and friends and fishing. He added that one of the highlights of his off-season was catching an 11-foot, 450-pound shark.

“I don’t talk hockey or have anything to do with hockey in the summer,” Kessel explained. “I probably take a month off. I live in Florida in the summer, so I go down there and golf and fish and do that kind of stuff and get away, and then I’ll start working out again.”

When asked about the team’s fitness testing, Kessel said he’s not worried.

“I think I’ll be fine in that,” he said. “It’s easy.”

Kessel said he’ll use training camp and the pre-season as a means to get into hockey shape.

“It’s pre-season, so it’s time to get used to the games and get more in shape and kind of get a feel for the game a little bit again,” Kessel said. “It’s been a while since I’ve played.”

While Kessel is sometimes ribbed for his not-quite-Herculean physique, he has proven to be one of the elite scorers in the NHL.


... I think in this hockey media crazed market, making comments like those is just asking for it. Not too smart. Raises doubts. Misleads one from his true fitness levels. And fuels the hamburger cracks and ridicule.

A bunch of this is Phil's fault or responsibility.

Good gosh... maybe you could get away with that in the 70s or 80s, but not today.  To be that lackluster about his own training and conditioning is remarkable.  All the jokes about "French Fry Phil" and "Krispy Kreme Kessel" are true... I used to try to defend Kessel, but really this season it's been tough, and to read this is shocking.  Wow!!  We cannot trade this guy fast enough...

Offline Nik

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #48 on: March 29, 2015, 01:36:03 PM »
Good gosh... maybe you could get away with that in the 70s or 80s, but not today.  To be that lackluster about his own training and conditioning is remarkable.  All the jokes about "French Fry Phil" and "Krispy Kreme Kessel" are true... I used to try to defend Kessel, but really this season it's been tough, and to read this is shocking.  Wow!!  We cannot trade this guy fast enough...

No, they're not true. Things that may have been true before his draft year don't necessarily follow him around and before this season Damien Cox reported Kessel came to camp in as good a shape as anyone. In what you're quoting Kessel says he takes a month off before getting back to working out. Do you think that no other players in the NHL ever take time off during the summer? That they're meticulous in their conditioning to the point of no down time? That's just flat-out untrue.

The only thing what you quoted should serve as a lesson to players on is that in this market you should never be honest with the media because there are dopes in this fan base who, when looking for scapegoats will make mountains out of whatever molehills they can.
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Offline Joe S.

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #49 on: March 29, 2015, 02:40:25 PM »
As a fan, I am perfectly willing to scrap the last 40 games as some kind in anomaly and move on from it. I'm perfectly fine going through a rebuild with kessel as part of this team.

Especially if the leafs land an elite centre so that for once I could see what a centre can do with 2 elite wingers.

Offline cw

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #50 on: March 29, 2015, 02:45:17 PM »
The only thing what you quoted should serve as a lesson to players on is that in this market you should never be honest with the media because there are dopes in this fan base who, when looking for scapegoats will make mountains out of whatever molehills they can.

I don't think honesty has much to do with it. "Dopes" and non-"dopes" don't complain about him being too honest. What they're complaining about in this case, is what he said about his fitness.

Did he say this statement?:
"“Honestly, I skated maybe—I don’t want to tell you this—but I skated 10 times maybe all summer,”"

He most certainly did.

Does it represent his fitness level? Nope, not on it's own.

Is it a sound byte the media would run with? You betchca and with his checkered fitness history, they did.

And even if you include all of his comments, as many media outlets did, he's poorly communicating what he does for fitness over the summer.

This is the big leagues. He's speaking to the fans. That used to be a big deal to his predecessor, Sundin. Like Sundin did, he needs to improve the simplicity and clarity his communications. He volunteered this stuff - nobody twisted his arm.  All he had to do was properly and clearly explain himself when he answered the question.

"I don’t want to tell you this" ... oh, yes he did or he wouldn't have. He knew he was about to say something that would get the media doing. He brought it on himself.

The real dope here is the guy doing such a poor job speaking with the media that it comes back on him. Self inflicting media wounds isn't smart. I don't think Phil's the sharpest knife in the drawer but I'm sure he can do better.

Offline Joe S.

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #51 on: March 29, 2015, 02:51:28 PM »
You know CW it pains me to say this, but reading your posts lately reminds me a lot of what we used to read from sundin detractors back in the day.

Offline Nik

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #52 on: March 29, 2015, 03:20:06 PM »
It's always nice when I make an assertion and then a poster comes along and provides rock solid evidence of it.
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Offline cw

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #53 on: March 29, 2015, 03:47:15 PM »
You know CW it pains me to say this, but reading your posts lately reminds me a lot of what we used to read from sundin detractors back in the day.

I'm just being honest about how I feel. What's the point otherwise?

I think they both have/had lots of talent. Neither were perfect - both had flaws. I think Mats was a more complete player but both are up there with the best in their positions. Kessel on the basis of his talent is one of the most talented right wingers in Leafs history. Only Mogilny in his prime maybe had more and Alex was past his prime in Toronto.

So I appreciate that Kessel is a special player compromised some, like Sundin was, by the lack of talent around him.

Comparing how Sundin handled the .4xx teams in '97 & '98 with Kessel of today, for example, is where I'm having quite a departure - or issue with Kessel's character vs Sundin's. It's hard for me to be a fan of a player who has performed as Kessel has the last 40 games.

Comparing how Sundin spoke to the fans is another departure between the two characters. Sundin's dedication to fitness, another.

If you're ok writing Kessel's 40 games this season off as an anomaly, that's fine with me. You're a Leafs fan, you're happy, sincerely, that's great. I'm not there yet. Don't know if I'll ever get there with Kessel.

This much probably isn't news from my posts: I've lost a lot of respect for Kessel over these last 40 games. Some of it probably isn't recoverable. He'll never reach the pedestal Sundin did for me now after what he did this season.

Offline Chris

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #54 on: March 29, 2015, 04:32:13 PM »
None of us know exactly how fit Kessel was coming into the season, nor do we know his eating habits, etc. And I would bet that many NHL players take time off after the season, if for no other reason than to heal nagging injuries.

But we've all seen the lack of effort over the past 40 games...well, not all 40, as I think they (top line in particular) gave a decent effort for a while after Horachek took over. But when the losing continued, the effort level dropped which is what I have a big problem with. I also don't care for the attitude Kessel has expressed a couple of times. For instance, his "what, do you think this is my fault?" interview and then his "poor Dion" rant where he repeatedly blamed management for the state of the team, yet never (to my recollection) took responsibility for his own lackadaisical play.

I know many here disagree, but I don't want that kind of attitude around a rebuilding team, regardless of how much raw talent comes with it. It will be interesting to see what Shanahan et al do as they have access to much more information than any of us. That includes you, Nick  ;)

Offline Joe S.

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #55 on: March 29, 2015, 04:37:05 PM »
I appreciate your response CW - and I can't offer much counter points to it. I will says this - I am not happy. If anything I care less now than I ever did about this team. I haven't watched a full game this season, and I haven't watched anything since the first few games after Carlyle was fired.

So I don't really have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to anything that's going on with the team over the last half of the season.

Offline Nik

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #56 on: March 29, 2015, 04:43:07 PM »
I know many here disagree, but I don't want that kind of attitude around a rebuilding team, regardless of how much raw talent comes with it.

How many people on this board do you think in the last two months have put forth that they very much want Kessel on the team next year?

It will be interesting to see what Shanahan et al do as they have access to much more information than any of us. That includes you, Nick  ;)

Bad news for Nick, I suppose.
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Online herman

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #57 on: March 29, 2015, 06:14:16 PM »
Anyone remember this story Brian Burke told at the Scotiabank President's Breakfast in 2012?

Quote
Burke spoke glowingly of Phil Kessel’s attitude and attempted to dispel the common belief that he’s aloof and disinterested in interviews. He explained, almost sheepishly, that Phil Kessel was plagued with shyness due to teenaged acne. During the pre-draft interviews of top prospects in 2006, Burke was left with an incredibly bad impression of Kessel, who wouldn’t look anyone in the eye and kept his head down throughout the interviews.

Burke said his opinion of Kessel changed during the World Championships in Halifax in 2009. Burke was GM of Team USA’s entry, and Kessel had just come off his 36 goal campaign with the Boston Bruins. While training for the event in Maine, Tim Gleason approached Phil Kessel to invite him on an ocean fishing trip with the rest of the team. Kessel explained to Gleason that while he loves to fish, he gets seasick on rough water and would feel awful all day.

Yet Kessel took part on the fishing trip, sucking up seasickness, for the sake of espirit de corps and team building. Kessel felt obliged towards his teammates regardless of his personal comfort. Burke remarked that he was impressed by such a team-first attitude from a young guy.

He also touched on Kessel’s maturity. After getting knocked out early in the tournament, there was a chartered flight for the team to Boston at 6 in the morning. Only 8 players decided to make that flight, and only two – Kessel and Gleason – showed up sober, well rested and dressed in suits. Kessel approached Burke, apologized for the team’s unsuccessful run and expressed a sincere distaste for not medaling in the tournament. It was then, Burke said, that he wanted Phil Kessel to play hockey for him.

I like what Kessel brings to the table. We need more pieces that can complement his skillset and offset his deficiencies. I believe better defensive positioning and techniques can be taught, and can be easily supplied by good linemates.

This you can't teach:


I'd only move him for a king's ransom in blue-chip prospects and early picks. 40 odd games when every key player on the team slumped at the same time is not something to draw substantial conclusions from, especially from a team sport. Drawing critical comparisons to a Hall of Famer from a different era of the sport who played a different style and role before Kessel's story is done is, in my opinion, a bit excessive and unfair.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 06:16:21 PM by herman »
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Offline L K

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #58 on: March 29, 2015, 06:18:55 PM »
I know many here disagree, but I don't want that kind of attitude around a rebuilding team, regardless of how much raw talent comes with it.

How many people on this board do you think in the last two months have put forth that they very much want Kessel on the team next year?

It will be interesting to see what Shanahan et al do as they have access to much more information than any of us. That includes you, Nick  ;)

Bad news for Nick, I suppose.

If we win the lottery and draft McDavid?  Yeah, probably.   It's still a rebuild, but a rebuild with a very different context.

Offline cw

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #59 on: March 29, 2015, 07:26:55 PM »
I appreciate your response CW - and I can't offer much counter points to it. I will says this - I am not happy. If anything I care less now than I ever did about this team. I haven't watched a full game this season, and I haven't watched anything since the first few games after Carlyle was fired.

So I don't really have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to anything that's going on with the team over the last half of the season.

Appreciate your response too.

Even if we don't see eye to eye on Kessel, we're both long time Leafs fans who want the best for the team.

And it's really the last 40 that you didn't see much of that really ticked me off.

There's one other difference with Phil and Mats. Not every coach liked Phil but his U-17 coach did. He felt Phil was a great player but couldn't be the main guy - Phil had to play second fiddle - just wasn't in his make up to be "the guy" - something to that effect.  Can't say I felt the same way about Mats. And that may be some of the trouble Phil's currently having in Toronto - beyond the supporting cast - Phil needs to be a part of the supporting cast.