The problem with Toronto Maple Leafs “fans” and their rocky relationsihp with Phil Kessel is the vicious circle that’s created by the story-hungry media, and then perpetuated by this overreacting portion of the fan base.
One cross-ice pass that deflected off of Stuart Percy’s skate in the season-opener (he could be very good for a long time, by the way), and the only thing that I have heard since opening night is how doomed the team is and how awful Phil Kessel is going to be this year…if the Leafs get to overtime and get the win or even a point in that game, the beatdown by Pitsburgh in game two doesn’t sting quite as badly and the vicious circle doesn’t start. But that goal did go in, the Leafs did lose the opener, and so now it’s time to throw one player under the bus…the thing is, this is getting old – because year after year, the anti-phil contingent gets on his back after some absurdly short amount of time. Oh and since the opener, Phil has five points and is now averaging over a point a game…phewf!
When is this portion of the Toronto fan base going to get off this guy’s back? He’s actually one of the most consistent players in the league and is top-5 in the league at what he does. You have to understand that what Phil does is score. He is not a two-way specialist that kills penalties for the team. He could be…but those roles can be filled by guys that are much less skilled. And his elite point production is actually a double-edged sword because when he’s top-5 in the league in scoring, people incorrectly equate that with him being an overall top-5 player in the league. He may not be as dynamic as Crosby, Toewz and Getzlaf…but he does have more goals than them over the last two seasons. Over the past two years he is 5th in total points behind Crosby, Getzlaf, Ovechkin and Giroux – those are four future hall-of-famers. Now compare the supporting cast and linemates of all five players…actually, included in the next 6 spots on that list of total points over the last two seasons is Chris Kunitz, Corey Perry, and Niklas Backstrom. The next Maple Leaf on that list is James Van Reimsdyk…at 46th.
Phil is what he is...an elite scorer who can single-handedly win games for the Toronto Maple Leafs (the OT winner against COL was a nice coincidence). Just be glad that he can't single-handedly lose games for them.
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