Over the past few years there really has been little for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans to be happy about. They have recently made the playoffs (2012-13), briefly stirring up some hope, however after being eliminated by the Boston Bruins they have not been back since. The hockey offseason arrived with the question of Phil Kessel still looming in our minds. Given the well publicized problems that Kessel has had with his people skills, both when he played with the Bruins and with the Leafs, who would want him on their team even given his obvious hockey gifts? The all important, yet rather intangible idea of team chemistry, could be disrupted by a player that should be a leader that cannot act like one with his own team. Enter the Pittsburgh Penguins, one of the few teams that really can handle Phil Kessel. In Pittsburgh, there already is an established leadership core that is respected around the league. Even a player with Kessel’s reputation for conflict is not going to challenge Sidney Crosby and the core of hockey veterans on the Penguins. Furthermore, Kessel will not be under the pressure to be the leader he clearly is not. He can focus on what he does best: play making on the ice without being looked to for the guidance he does not want to give. He also does not have to deal with the pressure to be the two way player EVERY player on the Bruins needs to be or else they are shown the door. Kessel can and will thrive in this unique environment that the Penguins provide. Career numbers in goals, assists, and yes, plus/minus are just around the corner. And for the Maple Leafs and their rebuild, they get new players and picks, plus the bonus of unleashing Kessel on the East where he can annoy and bedevil Montreal, Detroit and Boston all season long.
Pittsburgh Is Perfect For Kessel