By Justin Aucoin
As both a Boston Bruins and NHL fan, its pretty hard not to get excited and a little giddy when Phil Kessel starts tanking and then acts like a prima donna thats accomplished something in the NHL when, in fact, hes done diddly.
And, thankfully, hes right on schedule for both.
Hes goalless in his last 12 games and has a mere four assists during that stretch. His last goal came on January 11th against the San Jose Sharks. He and Nathan Horton are probably having get-togethers tea parties on off days to talk about their troubles.
Last Saturday Kessel hit a boiling point.
He was benched during a 6-2 butt kicking by the slightly-more-talented Buffalo Sabres. He was also demoted to the third line, putting Mr. Irrelevant in a foul temper for the rest of the weekend.
The following day he vented his frustration to reporters:
"No, me and coach Ron Wilson don't really talk. That's all I have to say about that." And then, when pressured if he was asking for a trade out of Toronto added, "I don't know. Maybe it's just not working out, I guess. Who knows? I didn't get anything going. Maybe it's time for a change or something. Who knows?"
His coach riposted.
"Phil doesnt really want to talk much about goal scoring or even work on it that much in practice," Wilson said.
Marriage counseling probably isnt standard NHL protocol, but clearly theres some communication issues up north if Kessel and Wilson arent talking.
I don't think anyone talks to the coach that often, right? I mean, some guys might, but I don't. Theres no problem, Kessel said.
Umm if you go a whole month without a goal and your team is already the butt of jokes, it might be a good idea to talk to your coach. He might -- oh, we dont know have some tips or notes for you.
But Kessel -- being ever the horrible politician -- insisted that his words were taken out of context and he was referring to playing on the chum-change line not working out.
"I love Toronto, I want to be here," Kessel said. "I love this city. I love the fans. I love this team. The guys are great here. I don't want any trade or anything like that. I want to be here for a very long time."
To prove this point, Kessel went around hugging everyone in Toronto, kissing babies, shaking hands and even bought one of those I Love Toronto t-shirts.
So Kessel has gone from loving the Maple Leafs, to saying (in some capacity) that its not working out in Toronto, to loving the city all over again. Screw Keanu Reeves; Phil Kessel needs to star in the next Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
And if you read Bob McKenzies tweets youd get the impression that Kessel is bi-polar.
And so continues the train wreck that is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Were not quite sure if its at the Super BowlBlack Eyed Peas level of train wreck, but its comical nonetheless.
Once again we can say, Thank you, Kessel.