Author Topic: So, about Phil Kessel...  (Read 50098 times)

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Offline PD

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #60 on: March 29, 2015, 07:37:43 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  ;)

Kessel, Bozak and VanReims are officially 1-2-3 and dead last in league +- stats...what a joke...over $18.5M in salaries for three guys who make a total of $225,000 per game to suck as the worst +- line in the league...Kessel is 4th highest paid player in the league this year...(PhanNot is top 10 in salary too)...next year, only Crosby, Toews, Kane and Weber are slated to make more than Kessel. No way he is worth that kind of money given the lack of effort.
I've been a Leaf fan for 50 years...can't recall a Leaf team with worse leadership, character, pride and passion. Kessel can go score 50 goals a year for another team, I don't care..I don't like his attitude and effort. PhanNot should go too...we'll likely have to retain salary for both...

Offline Bullfrog

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #61 on: March 29, 2015, 07:47:28 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.

Why do you care about Phil interacts with the media?

What evidence do you have that Sundin was more dedicated to fitness than Kessel? Sundin, the one who apparently was a smoker.

All Kessel's said is that he takes a month off and doesn't do that much skating. 10 times is still almost once a week. He doesn't come into training camp as one of the top three most fit guys (according to Cox) by drinking beer and fishing.

Offline Nik

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #62 on: March 29, 2015, 08:05:03 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.

It's a good story but I think, to me, it sort of displays why so much of the talk about "Character" is inherently meaningless and how two different people can glean two very different things from the same incident with the same person. Take the bit about the airplane in that anecdote. If Phil Kessel had shown up for the plane wearing jeans and a t-shirt, would that have made him worse of character? If he'd gone out partying the night before, his season already over, would that really make him a worse person? Some of that stuff is a testament to character, I suppose, but how much of it is genuine and how much of it is obligatory for the sake of aligning with whatever bogus interpretation of character exists in team sports?

The defense of Phaneuf in the media, for example seems like a perfect example of this. Earlier it was categorized as another display of Kessel's poor attitude or whatever but for me, someone who'd frequently criticized Kessel's reluctance to deal with the media in the past, it struck me as a sign of growth. Here was a guy who didn't like the media purposefully going to them and not to defend the criticism he was facing but the stuff a teammate was facing.

When sports writers talk about character they're really just looking to create a narrative that fleshes out what's going on with a player on-ice. Take Patrick Kane for example. I'd say he's someone with legitimate "character" concerns. His off-ice antics are a running joke. But is he of bad character? No. Why? Because he's on a good team that wins a lot.

It's meaningless. It's pap. It's sold to people who either want to complain about kids today playing on their lawn or venerate athletes uncritically, selling the obvious falsehood that there's a connection between being good at a sport and being a good person. We should all be past the point where we swallow such garbage.
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Offline Chris

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #63 on: March 29, 2015, 09:02:04 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.

Well, if Burke thinks so highly of Kessel, maybe he'll put his "money" where his mouth is and reacquire him this summer.

Offline cw

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #64 on: March 29, 2015, 10:57:32 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.

Why do you care about Phil interacts with the media?

Because it affects Kessel and the team and

If you read the thread, it started with trying to provide some perspective on this:
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!

It responds to 'I don't understand ... the wide face ... hamburger ' stuff to some extent - because Kessel and the media had a hand in it

It also provides some input on the conditioning issue.

All Kessel's said is that he takes a month off and doesn't do that much skating. 10 times is still almost once a week. He doesn't come into training camp as one of the top three most fit guys (according to Cox) by drinking beer and fishing.

You know that. I know that. He can't be in terrible shape.

The problem in that particular "skated 10 times this summer" example I showed is that stupid little monologue doesn't say that very well or clearly. It leaves a lot of room for negative interpretations and sets off a media firestorm questioning his fitness - because he didn't do a very good job presenting it in the first place. Some of the problem he's having with Leafs Nation, that he had with Bruins fans, is self inflicted in how he handles himself with the media.

I realize he's not comfortable - a bit of a social introvert - his social/people skills leave something to be desired. Whether he likes it or not, he's a face of the franchise getting paid $10 million and when he says stuff like he did about something where his track record is checkered, there can be self inflicted media consequences - like hamburger jokes.

Offline TDotMassive

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #65 on: March 30, 2015, 12:46:33 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.

Sure... it's not true, he's a scapegoat, we're all dopes.  You are sooo right!!  Nevermind the 6 games I went to this year (I generally see about 5-8 games per year), 4 games in the last half of the season I saw where I watched this bum skate in circles all night; no hustle, no backcheck, no forecheck, never goes near the corners, doesn't fight for pucks, doesn't skate to get back... I watch 4th liners blast by this guy for the puck, a guy who is by all measures one of the best skaters in the league. 

You wanna make excuses for the highest paid player in Leafs history and call fans dopes for screaming in protest and daring to poke fun (what other pleasure is there in this horrifying season?), then go right ahead... like I said, I defended Kessel hard for years, but watching him at the games this season, he deserves every single insult levelled against him.  No effort, no care... no heart.

Cannot wait for the day we ship him out for a bag of pucks...

Offline Nik

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #66 on: March 30, 2015, 12:59:52 PM »
Sure... it's not true, he's a scapegoat, we're all dopes.  You are sooo right!!  Nevermind the 6 games I went to this year (I generally see about 5-8 games per year), 4 games in the last half of the season I saw where I watched this bum skate in circles all night; no hustle, no backcheck, no forecheck, never goes near the corners, doesn't fight for pucks, doesn't skate to get back... I watch 4th liners blast by this guy for the puck, a guy who is by all measures one of the best skaters in the league. 

Even if what you say about his game is true it's not a reflection of his fitness level or what he eats. There's no evidence he eats poorly. There's no actual evidence he's in worse shape than anyone else other than he's got a bit of an unusually shaped face. I'm as unhappy with Kessel's level of effort as I am with Lupul's and Lupul as we know from ESPN's body issue is in great shape.

And I'm calling fans "dopes" for getting irrationally angry about Kessel making entirely reasonable comments about what he does in the off-season.
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Offline cw

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #67 on: March 30, 2015, 07:32:27 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.

It's a good story but I think, to me, it sort of displays why so much of the talk about "Character" is inherently meaningless and how two different people can glean two very different things from the same incident with the same person. Take the bit about the airplane in that anecdote. If Phil Kessel had shown up for the plane wearing jeans and a t-shirt, would that have made him worse of character? If he'd gone out partying the night before, his season already over, would that really make him a worse person? Some of that stuff is a testament to character, I suppose, but how much of it is genuine and how much of it is obligatory for the sake of aligning with whatever bogus interpretation of character exists in team sports?

The defense of Phaneuf in the media, for example seems like a perfect example of this. Earlier it was categorized as another display of Kessel's poor attitude or whatever but for me, someone who'd frequently criticized Kessel's reluctance to deal with the media in the past, it struck me as a sign of growth. Here was a guy who didn't like the media purposefully going to them and not to defend the criticism he was facing but the stuff a teammate was facing.

When sports writers talk about character they're really just looking to create a narrative that fleshes out what's going on with a player on-ice. Take Patrick Kane for example. I'd say he's someone with legitimate "character" concerns. His off-ice antics are a running joke. But is he of bad character? No. Why? Because he's on a good team that wins a lot.

It's meaningless. It's pap. It's sold to people who either want to complain about kids today playing on their lawn or venerate athletes uncritically, selling the obvious falsehood that there's a connection between being good at a sport and being a good person. We should all be past the point where we swallow such garbage.

I think the trend in pro sports is considerably different from this. As the money for athletes has gone up, teams are spending money to try to make sure as best as they can, they're spending their money wisely. The character of a player is taken into account at the time he's drafted, at the time he's traded, at the time he's offered a contract, at the time a coach doles out ice time, etc.

Offline TML fan

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #68 on: March 30, 2015, 07:44:57 PM »
Josh Hamilton's contract begs to differ.

Offline Nik

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #69 on: March 30, 2015, 08:08:05 PM »
I think the trend in pro sports is considerably different from this. As the money for athletes has gone up, teams are spending money to try to make sure as best as they can, they're spending their money wisely. The character of a player is taken into account at the time he's drafted, at the time he's traded, at the time he's offered a contract, at the time a coach doles out ice time, etc.

I wasn't trying to say that teams don't pay lip service to the issue of "character", I was saying that I don't think anyone has a real handle on what exactly good character is, how it manifests itself or how it relates to how someone plays a sport.

Look at TML fan's response to you. Josh Hamilton is someone who struggles with addiction which is typically seen to be a disease. Despite that, he righted his ship temporarily to become one of the best players in baseball for a while. Now it seems as though he's suffered a relapse.

So is he of bad character because he's an addict? Of good character because he was able to manage his demons for a while? Bad because he relapsed? Are these really questions of character?
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Offline TDotMassive

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #70 on: March 30, 2015, 08:25:19 PM »
Sure... it's not true, he's a scapegoat, we're all dopes.  You are sooo right!!  Nevermind the 6 games I went to this year (I generally see about 5-8 games per year), 4 games in the last half of the season I saw where I watched this bum skate in circles all night; no hustle, no backcheck, no forecheck, never goes near the corners, doesn't fight for pucks, doesn't skate to get back... I watch 4th liners blast by this guy for the puck, a guy who is by all measures one of the best skaters in the league. 

Even if what you say about his game is true it's not a reflection of his fitness level or what he eats. There's no evidence he eats poorly. There's no actual evidence he's in worse shape than anyone else other than he's got a bit of an unusually shaped face. I'm as unhappy with Kessel's level of effort as I am with Lupul's and Lupul as we know from ESPN's body issue is in great shape.

And I'm calling fans "dopes" for getting irrationally angry about Kessel making entirely reasonable comments about what he does in the off-season.

I think if he were giving it his all out on this ice, people would cut him some more slack... but when a guy's skating around like its Disney on Ice and has not really grown into a complete player, posting the worst +/- in the NHL, showing zero effort, heart or class... people tend to look at comments like these as potential reasons for why he sucks soo badly.

Maybe he's in good shape, maybe not... he certainly isn't playing like he's in great shape.  I don't doubt he's in good shape (kinda have to be just to play NHL level hockey)... but great shape I doubt, and statements like these kinda show that hockey (and being the best he can be) is not his #1 priority. 

When you make the kinda money he does, it's kinda expected that you condition yourself in the off-season and come to camp in top shape ready to go.  Kessel just doesn't seem to do that (by a combination of personal observation, statements made by him and various teammates over the years)... and when you're winning and scoring you can get away with that, but when you skate in circles and lose every game, posting the worst defense of any line in hockey... well, you just can't, and us "dopes" in the fan base will call you out... sometimes with nasty insults; that's just part of hockey.

Offline Nik

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2015, 08:34:15 PM »
When you make the kinda money he does, it's kinda expected that you condition yourself in the off-season and come to camp in top shape ready to go. 

Except that according to that report from training camp, Kessel didn't just show up to camp in good condition. He came to camp in some of the best condition of anyone on the club. More to the point though I really do think you're kidding yourself if you don't think that the vast majority of pro athletes don't take time after the season where they relax and, quite frankly, as a fan of these guys I don't expect or demand that they have no down time ever. They're human beings, after all.

and us "dopes" in the fan base will call you out... sometimes with nasty insults; that's just part of hockey.

And as someone who defended the rights of fans to throw their jerseys onto the ice in frustration, as they did so often this year, my issue isn't with the idea that there are knuckleheads in the crowd who'll yell dumb things.

I'm just not going to let it go without comment if someone claims that these not particularly clever comments about Kessel's diet are "true" when in fact they're almost certainly false. I'm not shocked or surprised by fans getting irrationally angry, I just have little patience for people trying to lend credibility to it. It's like that stupid tweet about Lupul and Phaneuf's wife. Fans are upset, sure, but if they're going to invent outright falsehoods and awful jokes as a result they deserve to be called out as such.
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Offline TML fan

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2015, 08:35:42 PM »
So, a guy who tries really hard and accomplishes nothing is more valuable than a guy who floats around but out scores everyone on his team?

I mean, Kessel gets flak for not "giving his all" but I don't see anyone blasting Komarov for not scoring 25 goals.

The "dopes" have a ridiculous double standard.

Offline Joe S.

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #73 on: March 30, 2015, 08:53:29 PM »
You know who I saw (and in person) floating around in the ice... Wendel Clark.

And Shayne Corson too - in fact he wouldn't even be skating in circles, he'd just stand there near the boards and wait.

Offline bustaheims

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Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« Reply #74 on: March 30, 2015, 09:01:36 PM »
You know who I saw (and in person) floating around in the ice... Wendel Clark.

And Shayne Corson too - in fact he wouldn't even be skating in circles, he'd just stand there near the boards and wait.

You know who else floated around the ice a lot? Guys like Lemieux, Jagr, Gretzky, Bure, Mogilny (before he got to NJ), etc. Most of the best goal scorers in the history of the league could have been called out as floaters.
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