Florida Panthers v Toronto Maple Leafs

Save of the night: Scott Clemmensen stuns Phil Kessel in overtime

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

Phil Kessel was coming off one of the more bummed out All-Star weekends a guy can have. He was the last pick in the All-Star Fantasy Draft, he wasn’t able to dazzle us with anything in the skills competition, and he was the only forward to not end up with a point in the game itself. Getting back to normal life in the regular season seemed like a good idea.

Scott Clemmensen decided to make life a little harder for a moment on Kessel with his tremendous stop on Kessel as he broke in on him  in overtime. Kessel made a beautiful move to slip past the defense but Clemmensen robbed him with a huge pad save. Clemmensen’s save was able to help the game move on to the shootout where the Leafs snatched victory away after blowing a 3-1 lead in the third period.

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All-Star flubs: Phil Kessel’s irrelevance, Tim Thomas falls and broken sticks for Alex Ovechkin

Honda NHL SuperSkills

The 2011 NHL All-Star Game hasn’t begun yet, but this weekend’s buildup already created some embarrassing moments. Luckily all three All-Stars handled those moments with some good humor, whether the effects were out of their hands or self imposed.

In the first video, you’ll see the squirm-inducing moment in which Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel went last in the Friday Fantasy Draft. He actually went second to last in the PHT Mock Draft, so these results aren’t that stunning. To be fair to Kessel, Erik Karlsson may have been the last pick if there weren’t requirements for drafting goalies and defensemen earlier.

Tim Thomas is one of the best personalities of all the league’s goalies, which even is apparent in the way he plays the game. It’s good that he has a great sense of humor because he took an amusing spill during the fastest skater competition, which you can see in the second video.

The final clip captures the hockey stick difficulties faced by Alex Ovechkin, who handled it with humor and confusion.

Kessel as Mr. Irrelevant:

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Thomas falls:

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Ovechkin’s hardest shot problems:

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Phil Kessel v. Bruins: Final Showdown

The Phil Kessel trade to the Maple Leafs from Boston has been a heated topic of debate for both teams all season long. You’ve got Bruins fans insisting they didn’t need Kessel to win games ranging to Leafs fans saying they don’t care about the first round pick the team gave up to1-kessel.jpg get him. As the teams square off tonight for the final time this season, it stands to reason that both teams could end up being big winners and losers in the end. 

For Boston, it’s clear that they miss Kessel’s offensive ability more than anything. Patrice Bergeron is the team’s leading scorer with 50 points, meanwhile Kessel is the Leafs top man with 55 points including 30 goals. The Bruins may not know that Kessel has been that good for the Leafs this year because in their five games head-to-head Kessel has been held to just one assist.

As for the first round pick, many Bruins fans have visions of a top three pick but with Toronto firmly in the role of spoiler, the Leafs have played better of late winning six of their last nine.  While their final four games come against Eastern teams looking to get in the playoffs, the Leafs are in a spot where closing out the season in a big way could conceivably put them closer to 10th in the draft rather than 2nd overall and thus making Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli a bit less excited.

Do the Bruins miss Kessel’s offense? In a huge way, yes. While Patrice Bergeron has had a bit of a resurgence this year, I’d bet the Bruins would love to have a 30 goal scorer right about now as they try to secure a spot in the playoffs. While the playoffs is the goal for the Bruins, it would look pretty awful if they missed out because they just didn’t have enough offense to get there and their top goal scorer from a year ago is playing for someone else because the team opted to not pay him while wasting money on other failed projects (hello Derek Morris).

The other side of this though is how ugly would things look in Toronto without Phil Kessel? Kessel has been their lone offensive go-to guy and one check at their current roster’s stats says that the Leafs would be Edmonton Oilers kind of bad if they didn’t get Kessel.

Goal of the night: Brian Pothier & Phil Kessel

We have a tie for goal of the night. First, Phil Kessel scores on a 2-on-1 to give the Toronto Maple Leafs an overtime win at home. Then, Brian Pothier buries a big goal in overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes another improbable victory, this time over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Former Leafs coach Wilson takes aim at Kessel — ‘You can’t rely on Phil’

Ron Wilson
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Former Toronto coach Ron Wilson went on TSN 1050 radio today and, boy, did he have some some stuff to say about the firing of his successor, Randy Carlyle.

Specifically, he took aim at the players.

“I’m gonna have to say you have to change some of the players,” said Wilson. “Eventually they will. I don’t think they will right now, because I don’t think there are a lot of trading partners for a lot of these players. But they’re going to come to that sooner or later.

“These guys, some of the core players, have failed under two or three different coaches, so it’s gotta be the players’ fault.”

On winger Phil Kessel, a player with whom he did not enjoy the closest relationship, Wilson relayed a mixed opinion.

“I think you can win with Phil Kessel,” he said. “He shows obvious signs of brilliance throughout the year. But Phil’s problem, and I think it’s pretty much the way Phil’s been his whole career, he’s two weeks on and two weeks off. … You can’t rely on Phil. It’s just the way it is.

“He comes and goes, and he gets emotional, and he lets that affect his game and his relationship with other players. But that’s just the nature of the beast. That’s what you have to coach. You have to know that Phil’s gonna give you everything he’s got for two or three weeks, and then for the next two or three weeks, everything seems to go wrong for Phil. That’s just the way it is.”

Related: Leafs are ‘capable,’ but also ‘movable’