Kessel Comin’

Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs

Phil Kessel Returns To Boston Tonight.

Much ballyhooed, much hyped, highly anticipated.

All the cliched terms apply.

Phil Kessel is back in Boston wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey and the town is abuzz. There is no need to rehash the details of his somewhat unpleasant departure, but suffice to say all eyes are on the Garden tonight to see what happens and, chances are, a lot will. For many reasons.

Not the least of which is the ornery mood the Bruins should be in after their humiliating ass beating in Montreal last night. If they’re not in an ornery mood then I have some serious questions to ask some folks, believe me. In any case, see Fight Watch at the end of this post for more on what I hope to see go down in this one.

As for Kessel, well, I’m not as fired up as some folks are, that’s for sure. I find some of the fanboy hatred for the guy I’ve seen expressed on from various sources a bit childish to be honest. But then Kessel never inspired much emotion in me one way or the other when he was here so it’s hard to get too fired up about him now that he’s wearing different laundry. Let’s be honest, folks, this isn’t Roger Clemens to the Yankees. For chrissakes, he was only here for three years. It’s just a case of a moderately talented youngster that a team couldn’t sign that they traded away for pretty decent value in return. End result is exactly the cap room you need to keep players like David Krejci and Milan Lucic in town.

I ask you, would you prefer Kessel over either of those? Or over Marc Savard, who just signed an extension. How about a future extension of Zdeno Chara? If you sign Phil Kessel you might not be able to do all of those things and I, for one, think that’s a mistake. In terms of importance to the team, I think Kessel ranks behind all of those players and, for that matter, Tukka Rask as well if you’re looking toward the future.

So I ask again, why all the Kessel hate? It seems a bit forced if you ask me. You have to see the guy for what he was; an extremely young, very talented, utterly one dimensional forward with the ability to score goals and no desire to work to prevent them. And that’s it. Questions about his character are really completely pointless at age 21, folks. Guys with the maturity of Patrice Bergeron at that age are pretty rare and if you’re looking for sage wisdom and depth of character from a guy a few years removed from high school, you’re barking up the wrong telephone pole.

So the guy wanted out of town and he wanted to get paid. So fucking what? You want to take that personally, well, grab that custom Black and Gold jersey of yours with your own name sewn on the back and head out of your mom’s basement over to the Garden with a bucket full of boos and have at it. Me, I have a game to watch.

It’s an interesting one, for sure, but I won’t be watching with any silly foaming at the mouth rage to see Kessel fail or get pummeled by a big hit other than I wll any other guy wearing the blue and white. The Bruins don’t need to crush Phil Kessel, they need to win.

Remember, folks.

This ain’t Montreal. This is Boston.

‘Nuff said.

Fight Watch: Good lord, please, let this be what I’m hoping for. A buzz in the air, the humiliated Bruins in Boston in front of the home crowd, the Leafs with a fair share of rumblers, and a history of some feisty play between the two this year. I’m really hoping for a classic game with a shitload of emotion to feed into some real scraps.

The Leafs come in with 24 fighting majors tying them for second in the league. Colton Orr is the obvious leader in that department and is as tough as it gets but there are no shortage of other candidates in Jamal Mayers, Luke Schenn, Garney Exelby and Mike Homosarek. Even Phil the Thrill has one official bout this season.

The Bruins I hope to see answer the bell include, of course, Shawn Thornton, Byron Bitz, Mark Stuart, Steve Begin and the newly recalled Johnny Boychuk who will suit up in favor of Matt Hunwick tonight. Hell, maybe it’s time we saw Big Z show some snarl. You gotta do what you gotta do, boys.

So do it.


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