Today's TSN.ca has a report from Toronto Maple Leafs practice that head coach Ron Wilson personally ripped Phil Kessel in front of the team and assembled media for his poor play of late.
I bring your attention to this nugget: "You have one (expletive) goal in your last 10 games," Wilson said to Kessel.
Many of us felt when Kessel and Co. forced the Bruins to trade him Toronto that it was a bad fit. The hockey-mad, oft referred to as "Mecca" Toronto and player pressure-cooker has nothing on what Kessel dealt with in Boston, where the pressure is certainly there, but not as much on the Bruins as it is on the Red Sox.
Kessel and his handlers have never been all that open to criticism, constructive or otherwise, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to the Wilson broadside just a little over two months into his five-year contract with the Leafs.
Obviously, not a good situation for Toronto right now. Wilson is feeling the heat after a disastrous 6-2 loss in Philly on the heels of a come-from-behind win at home the night before.
I've said it before and I'll say it again- every loss carries with it a missed opportunity for two points that Toronto simply cannot afford to give up. They just aren't that good a team, and the losses mean that they've essentially got to run the table to get themselves out of the basement and into the upper-15 of NHL clubs this season.
When your star player isn't producing for you, it makes that possibility even more remote.