Don Cherry

Don Cherry to Phil Kessel: ‘Forget about back-checking’


Phil Kessel is in a funk – just two goals in his last 14 games. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a funk – shut out in two of their last three games prior to puck drop on Saturday.

But Don Cherry, during his Coach’s Corner segment, had some advice for Kessel, Toronto’s embattled star and the Leafs, too.

“Kessel, I would say, forget it coming back. Just score goals,” said Cherry. “He’s your magic guy with the hands. Let him go, forget about back-checking.”

Interesting strategy.

The last few weeks have been a tumultuous time for Kessel and the Leafs. They have only three wins since Dec. 16.

In addition to his slump, Kessel has been called out for being inconsistent and an alleged inability to be coached, called out again by Mike Milbury for being a “pain” in the, well, you-know-what, and involved in an awkward, heated exchange with a Toronto reporter following the firing of Randy Carlyle.

Video: Phil Kessel’s a ‘pain in the [blank],’ says Mike Milbury

HKN Kessel Brothers 20140928

Tell us how you really feel, Mike Milbury.

On Wednesday, during the broadcast of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Boston Bruins game on NBCSN, Milbury, a former player, coach and general manager in the National Hockey League, ripped into Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel, calling him a “pain” in the you-know-what.

This comes one day after the Leafs fired Randy Carlyle and Kessel later got into it with a reporter who asked if Toronto’s forward was difficult to coach, following the comments of another former Leafs coach, Ron Wilson.

PHT Morning Skate: Phil Kessel’s weird holiday outfit and Brent Burns’ love of pizza


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Mats Sundin as a member of the Vancouver Canucks and four other things that maybe shouldn’t have happened. (The Hockey News)

Before you get too excited about Martin Brodeur’s first win with the St. Louis Blues … (Sportsnet)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $1,400. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Here’s hoping Brent Burns begins a trend of people eating pizza while being interviewed. No, not just in hockey or sports … even in job interviews.

(The video itself is old, but his tendency to do so caused a stir. Really though, are you going to complain about seeing that?)

This goalie celebration is something else. (Puck Daddy)

Quite a throwback sight: Wayne Gretzky in a big fur coat. (Pucks, Guts & Glory)

There’s just … a lot to take in as far as Phil Kessel’s holiday-themed outfit goes, via Dion Phaneuf’s Instagram account. Is it more funny or disturbing?