Can Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel Turn Around the Negative Perception?

December 18th, 2012 by Steve Silverman Leave a reply »
Phil Kessel is a dynamic offensive player who will almost certainly lead the Toronto Maple Leafs in goal scoring when (if) the NHL starts playing hockey again.

Kessel has the ability to accelerate through the defense, get to a spot between the circles and fire off one of the best wrist shots in the NHL. He has scored 30 goals or better in each of the last four seasons, three of which have come in a Toronto uniform.

But while Kessel has the ability to score goals and he has turned his vast potential into production, all that gold does not always glitter.

Kessel is not exactly a stalwart when it comes to all-around play. He doesn't appear to have the conditioning of his ex-Boston teammate Zdeno Chara, and he has not always been enamored with playing hard on the defensive end.

Kessel's effort and all-around play became an issue during his time in Boston with Bruins head coach Claude Julien. While Kessel scored 36 goals in the 2008-09 season and finished with 60 points and a plus-23 rating, Julien was not particularly thrilled with Kessel's defensive play.

Julien brought the subject up with his star goal scorer and Kessel did not t ...

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