Whether Toronto Maple Leafs fans are hoping for their team to tank or not, Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers was gruesome in many different ways.
Things were especially bleak for Jonathan Bernier, as he allowed three goals on four shots before being mercifully pulled in the first period of the game. The reactions on Twitter and social media in general ranged from sardonic to sorrowful.
Phil Kessel seemed to be in the latter camp:
Kessel: "This is an all-time low in hockey right now. It's a tough go." #Leafs
The game serves as another serious misstep for Nazem Kadri, who may find himself suspended by the league not that long after he was shelved by his team. Check out this hit he delivered on Matt Fraser:
As you can probably see, Kadri attempted to apologize to Fraser right after he delivered that check, which drew a two-minute illegal check to the head minor. After the game, he admitted that he’s concerned about getting suspended, as TSN’s Mark Masters reports.
Kadri admits he's a bit worried about possible suspension
Earlier this week, we all watched as Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel went off about how he perceived his team’s captain, Dion Phaneuf, is treated in the media.
The Leafs have been mired in struggle and controversy for months now. They’ve fallen to 25th overall in the league standings, and were only two points up on 27th place Carolina when the puck dropped on Friday’s NHL schedule. Kessel has scored just six times in his last 34 games.
This painful season for the Leafs — and their fans — is nearing an end.
It’s been an eventful couple days for Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and much of it was likely trying for him to say the very least. Phaneuf, a man who said the Leafs trade talks “wears on you,” was a popular deadline day subject as reports surfaced that Detroit was trying to acquire his services.
“It means a lot that Phil said that,” said Phaneuf, per TSN. “I have a lot of respect for Phil and the way that he deals with everything.”
Phaneuf insists that despite everything that has happened, he remains “extremely proud” to be a member of the Maple Leafs. He still might end up being traded over the summer though as the Maple Leafs look towards the future after enduring a string of annual collapses.
That was Phil Kessel this morning, sticking up for his captain, Dion Phaneuf, by way of tearing a strip off the Toronto media.
“I’m disappointed today,” Kessel said. “I think the way the media treats Dion Phaneuf in this city is embarrassing. I think a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves. I’m embarrassed for them. I don’t think anyone deserves to be treated like that.”
Kessel didn’t provide specifics, saying only the treatment of Phaneuf “in general” was unfair.
“He’s our best defenseman,” said Kessel,” and you guys act like he’s not trying out there, and this and that. … Is it his fault we’re losing? No. Did he build this team? No. … He’s owed some apologies by some people. It’s disgusting the way people treat him.”
Some (or a lot) of Kessel’s frustration may have been related to a disparaging tweet that mistakenly went to air yesterday on TSN.
The network apologized shortly thereafter, but not before Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul tweeted, “TSN just a poor mans TMZ. Embarrassing.”
We could be watching Phil Kessel’s final days, weeks, or months in Toronto, but if he is on his way out, where will he go to? One destination that’s popped up recently is the Florida Panthers and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike the Maple Leafs, Florida is a team on the rise and Panthers GM Dale Tallon recently listed his greatest need as a “sniper or scorer with a little more speed on the wing” on The Fan 590.
All the same, Kessel might not be heading to Florida anytime soon, if at all.
“Florida general manager Dale Tallon and Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis have not had one specific conversation about Phil Kessel, and they did actually talk (Monday), but not about Kessel,” TSN’s Bob McKenzie said.
McKenzie characterized the Panthers’ interest in Kessel as general in the sense that they want a player like him and would pull the trigger under the right set of circumstances, but nothing’s likely to happen until the summer. Even then, they might not be a good fit for Toronto as the Panthers reportedly don’t want to break up their young core, which might kill any potential trade.
These rumors were also brought up when The Fan had Tallon on.
“Well I don’t want to pay any big fines. Phil Kessel’s a (heck) of a player, he can score a lot of goals, but I don’t know where that (the rumors) coming from,” Tallon said. He went on to say that he’s planning to stay the course when it comes to the trade deadline and even raised the possibility of being a seller despite the fact that the Panthers are still in the race for a playoff spot.