The Blizzard of 2013 couldn’t keep the Maple Leafs from arriving in Montreal from Winnipeg on Friday night, braving high winds and blinding snow in the process.
Of course, if you are Phil Kessel, it must have seemed like a bright sunny mid-summer’s day, given the fact that he finally has hit the back of the net.
No more dark cloud looming over the head of Phil Kessel. Life is good again, albeit temporarily.
It will be interesting to see if Kessel’s first goal of the season will muzzle some of the trade chatter that seems to have dominated the Leafs’ fan base, a debate that grew with each of the 10 games at the start of the season that the enigmatic winger fired blanks.
“They just need something to talk about,” scoffed teammate Matt Frattin.
Kessel snapped home the tiebreaking goal with less than five minutes left on Thursday in a 3-2 Leafs victory over the host Winnipeg Jets, a goal that brought as much relief to his linemates as it did to him.
“I’m probably happier than he is,” Kessel’s buddy, Tyler Bozak, said. “Now I won’t have to answer all those “what’s wrong with Phil?” questions every day.””
Other than being snakebit every time the puck left his stick, there hasn’t been much wrong with Phil Kessel this season. He’s getting plenty of chances, entering play Friday with 46 shots, the second-most in the league. He, along with Bozak, leads all Toronto forwards in average ice time at 21 minutes per game. Most importantly, coach Randy Carlyle does not seem to have lost confidence in him.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped the question: “Should the Leafs trade Phil Kessel?” from being asked over and over again.
Why Phil Kessel is a keeper
Toronto Sun | Feb 9