On the way into work today I was thumbing through my twitter timeline and noticed Phil Kessel’s name popping up more often than usual. Tuesdays are rec hockey night in the Pizzo household so if something happened after the Leafs blew two different leads against the Islanders, I hadn’t seen it yet. With a little digging I saw what sparked all the Kessel talk was an article in the Globe and Mail written by Jeff Blair in which he talks about the “Fire Burkie” chants heard last night at the Air Canada Centre. For the record, I enjoyed the article and think Blair is a very good writer, however it’s the way the article started that got people all riled up:

He has no goaltender, his leading scorer is a milquetoast, Tom Thumb guy who shrinks even further in front of the cameras and nobody knows for certain whether his team captain has credibility in the dressing room.

Let’s skip the goaltender/Phaneuf talk and get right to Kessel. The shrinking in front of cameras part we knew, but I am not ashamed to say that I needed to jump on dictionary.com to find out just what the hell milquetoast meant, it’s defined as: a very timid, unassertive, spineless person, especially one who is easily dominated or intimidated.

Before I add my two cents, let me state for the record that all season I have said two things about Phil Kessel:

1)      He may very well be the worst interview in the history of sports

2)      The guy is a great hockey player

I realize I basically told you that water is wet, and the sky is blue, but given the circumstances I thought it was necessary to let you know my opinions. I only bring up the fact that he is bad in interviews as a way of saying that I don’t enjoy hearing the words “I’m standing here with Leaf forward Phil Kessel” when I’m watching hockey. It usually means I can head to the bathroom or grab some food and won’t miss anything important. However, to lump that shot in between the Leafs goaltending issues and the captain’s credibility seems unfair.

What is a hockey players job? To play hockey. Kessel has fulfilled his job requirements wouldn’t you think? Sure the Leafs are in a free fall that sees them booking tee times for the offseason; but Kessel spent a chunk of the year on top of the NHL scoring list. He presently sits fourth in the NHL with a career best 76 points and has matched his career best with 36 goals. Are we really going to take a shot at Phil Kessel because he is…shy? Players are required to speak to the media, but correct me if I am wrong, where does it say that they are required to be funny/entertaining/witty?

A quick peek at the top 10 scorers in the NHL will show not one player that would cause you to get excited to hear “up next with our very own (insert interviewer’s name here)”.  Evgeni Malkin is apparently funny (from what his teammates say), but I haven’t been witness to it. Stamkos? Giroux? Crosby? No one rips these offensive powerhouses for their boring interviews.  Kessel does what he is paid to do: put up points.

Yes, he is a terrible in front of a camera or microphone, and you know what, who cares? At least he is not a terrible interview because he is trying to be rude to the media like say: the teams former coach and present general manager.


Let’s head to the links

Guess who will be at Predators practice this morning (Pro Hockey talk)

Tyler Seguin is looking for a booty call so he texted….all Bruins fans? (Day’s of Y’Orr)

Patrick Roy doing his best to shoot down rumours that he will be the next Habs coach (Puck Daddy)

Speaking of the Habs, Jesse Spector of the Sporting News has a five step plan to help the team (and no, none of the steps involve Patrick Roy) .

Are the Habs going to buy out Scotty Gomez? Is he heading back to New Jersey? (The Fourth Period)

Yesterday I actually had to take a walk becasue this news made me SO ANGRY.  I’m still so sickened by it (CBC)

Tyler Myers has done his time (Buffalo News)

It was  ho-hum 400th goal for Ilya Kovalchuk (Fire and Ice)

Glen Sather says that he wants to re-sign Mats Zuccarello (Blueshirt Banter)

Score Nation takes  look at Brian Burke’s mess in Toronto

Paging Brendan Shanahan