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Phil Kessel is not Coachable


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Keep in mind that this is just one second-hand source coming from a coach from a clinic that Steve Spott spoke at.


The official 'Day 1' of the Toronto Maple Leafs' season has begun the way it ended last year - on a controversial note.

According to Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star, new assistant coach Steve Spott - in an anecdote given to minor hockey coaches at a coaching clinic last month - said he struggled getting Toronto winger Phil Kessel to buy in on a new breakout play he was devising for the Maple Leafs this season.

"'Spotter' said that when he went to Phil (with the breakout play), Phil said, I'm not doing it," one of the clinic's attendees - a former pro player - told Feschuk.

The story adds that Spott's scheme called for Kessel - a right winger - to go across the blue line towards the left wing and push back the opposing defenceman who could stop the breakout by keeping the puck in. Spott then explained in his lecture that Kessel didn't like the idea and preferred to staying closer to his own wing and wait for a cross-ice pass that get him out of the gate against the opposing team's left defenceman.

"(Kessel) originally said no, and then he said he'd meet Spott halfway and come to the middle, but that he wouldn't go all the way across like Spott originally wanted," explained one of the attendees. "But it's Phil's show."

According to the coaches in attendence, Spott said he and Kessel eventually came to a compromise and added that despite being "15 pounds overweight," Kessel is an explosive skater and one of the smartest hockey minds he's worked with.

The story added that Spott told the clinic - in a 'tongue in cheek' manner - that when he brought the news to Randy Carlyle, the head coach told him that the team's hierarchy didn't want to deal with Kessel and all they want is for him to score goals.

"Spott said Carlyle's attitude was that we're fired before (Kessel is) out of here, the hierarchy doesn't want to deal with Phil," one of the attendees told The Star. "He scores 30 (goals) a year and that's all they want. (Spott said) Phil hates coaches. He hates Randy. He hates me and I don't even know him yet."

Kessel, who scored 30 goals and tallied 80 points for the Leafs last season, signed an eight-year, $64 million contract extension with the team last fall.

Files from The Toronto Star were used for this report.

To be honest, this story seems ridiculous in that it is relying on a secondary source with no comment from the Leafs coaches or Kessel. But, maybe some of the people consistently whining about TSN's bias towards the Leafs can subside a little.

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On the thread where Kes complained about the media in VAN. Watermelons said, "At least in markets like Toronto the media actually supports the team.".. inferring that here in VAN, our local media rakes the players & Canucks team too much.. & more than elsewhere.

I answered...

"The media in TOR are currently bullish on Dave Nonis, Randy Carlyle, their Leafs' captain Dion Phaneuf & others. It's bullcrap to suggest that the eastern media propaganda machine is only spewing sunshine & roses over there. Granted, they are famous for making their excuses & shielding their favorites... & for ripping the in-coming competition more than the homeboys - but they don't always/actually support members of the Maple Leafs hockey team with complete blind faith & guileless printed words like you infer. Reality check, pleazzzze!"

And,...thanks to the OP,...^there it IS!

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I think it was telling that at the very 1st All-Star Players' Draft - the Team Captains didn't want to pick-up the dude, despite his high-scoring credentials. The players know.

Now, that its' known the last guy chosen gets a car - maybe there's a little more manipulation involved or some gamesmanship going on. Get the rookie, low-wage guy, beloved veteran or 1st time all-star the car...or let's just give it to the not-so-greedy guy who will likely donate it. But - Kessel being last-picked in that intial All-Star Draft... was delicious! He and Dion Phaneuf.. good golly,..what a pair!

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2 first overall picks gets you a hell of a player these days... At least he gets 30 goals though. I bet if the Leafs had a stronger leadership core the captain and an assistant or two would put him in his place pretty quickly, if this story is true that is.

Yeah, Phaneuf is such a joke though. He wouldn't even understand the problem. :picard:

On the thread where Kes complained about the media in VAN. Watermelons said, "At least in markets like Toronto the media actually supports the team.".. inferrring that here in VAN, our local media rakes the players & Canucks team too much.. & more than elsewhere.

I answered...

"The media in TOR are currently bullish on Dave Nonis, Randy Carlyle, their Leafs' captain Dion Phaneuf & others. It's bullcrap to suggest that the eastern media propaganda machine is only spewing sunshine & roses over there. Granted, they are famous for making their excuses & shielding their favorites... & for ripping the in-coming competition more than the homeboys - but they don't always/actually support members of the Maple Leafs hockey team with complete blind faith & guileless printed words like you infer. Reality check, pleazzzze!"

And,...thanks to the OP,...^there it IS!

I think what the issue is that while those types of articles are printed there 90% of the stuff is all sunshine and rainbows, delusionally depicting the team as real strong contenders every year, while the media here is pretty much 90% negative, even when we really are contenders.

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Strategy? Coaching?

Who needs dat?

When you have a corsi on of -15.58, -8.54, and -12.19 over the past three years?

When you have a turnover differential of -51, -20 (half season) and -43 over the past three years?

Plus/minus of -46 as a Leaf.

And been spoon-fed for years.

But, but... he scores some points (although his team scores less goals and gets significantly less scoring chances than the opposition does while he is on the ice...)

Large part of being one of the worst puck possession teams in the NHL (and part of one of the most questionable 'leadership' groups in the NHL).

Coaching? Does he really need it?

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http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/09/18/leafs-deny-rift-between-kessel-and-coaching-staff/

What’s interesting, besides the actual remarks (or purported remarks, in Spott’s case), is that both stories have one thing in common — people making comments in a setting where they didn’t intend their words to be picked up by the media. Leiweke was speaking to a classroom of business students, while Spott, as mentioned, was at a coaching clinic.

It’s almost like you have to be careful what you say in a hockey-mad market like Toronto.
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@markhmasters: Kessel: "Honestly, I've skated, maybe, I don't want to tell you this, I skated 10 times, maybe, all summer."

@markhmasters: Kessel: "Randy let's me get away [with] stuff that other guys may not get away with. Obviously, I play different than other guys on the team."

In my opinion those are comments that you do not want your best player making. Just isn't going to create a good team dynamic.

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Strategy? Coaching?

Who needs dat?

When you have a corsi on of -15.58, -8.54, and -12.19 over the past three years?

When you have a turnover differential of -51, -20 (half season) and -43 over the past three years?

Plus/minus of -46 as a Leaf.

And been spoon-fed for years.

But, but... he scores some points (although his team scores less goals and gets significantly less scoring chances than the opposition does while he is on the ice...)

Large part of being one of the worst puck possession teams in the NHL (and part of one of the most questionable 'leadership' groups in the NHL).

Coaching? Does he really need it?

Ssshhhhh.

Toronto is Canada's team!

Realistically, this is going to be another tough year for Canadian teams. There's Montreal and then everyone else. I actually think we are at the top of the rest of the list.

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