Leafs coach ‘applauds’ Kessel ‘standing up’ for Phaneuf

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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.

Phaneuf has already said that what Kessel did meant a lot to him. Now, Leafs coach Peter Horachek has praised the recent off-ice actions of Kessel.

“As a team, all our players need to have each other’s backs,” Horachek told the Toronto Star. “They need to stand up for each other. That was his version of doing that, so I applaud him for that.”