Turns out Phil Kessel might actually bring a Stanley Cup to Toronto after all.
Our sweet hockey prince told Sportsnet 590 on Wednesday morning that there’s a good chance he’ll spend part of his day with the Cup in the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, after his Pittsburgh Penguins won the chalice in six games over the San Jose Sharks.
From the interview:
Phil, obviously you get your time with the Stanley Cup. What are your plans when you get your 24 hours with the Cup?
“You know, I haven’t fully decided my plans. I have a lot of friends in Toronto. That’s kinda where I spent most of my time. I’d probably wind up bringing it back there. It’s something I haven’t fully decided. But I think there’s a good chance that it’ll happen.”
Kessel has long said that the animosity that existed between himself and the Toronto media didn’t extend to the fans, even if things did get a little intense during those jersey-tossing days.
“I always like to thank them for my time there. They always treated me great,” he said.
While we expect Phil’s time with the Cup in Toronto will be spent with it situated on a couch between himself and Tyler Bozak as they play FIFA 16 on PlayStation, obviously we’re all hoping that he does the thing we all want to see happen:
Take the Cup to the corner. Buy two dozen hot dogs. Fill the Cup with them. Devour.
Steve Simmons, by the way, mentioned Kessel in his weekend column and how he played himself out of Toronto:
When Brendan Shanahan fired Randy Carlyle 17 months ago as coach of the Leafs, he turned to the players and gave them a rather blunt message: Show me something. Those weren’t his exact words, but the context was clear.
If you want to remain a Maple Leaf, show me you want to remain a Maple Leaf.
That was the beginning of the end of Phil Kessel’s time in Toronto. It wasn’t media. It wasn’t fans. It wasn’t hot dogs. It wasn’t personality that led to Kessel being traded by the Leafs. It was an absolute disregard for Shanahan’s words and the personal challenge he put out for the Leafs.
You can now twist the story any way you want with Kessel having the playoffs of his life and the Pittsburgh Penguins a win away from the Stanley Cup but the truth is that in the final 43 games without Carlyle, Shanahan believed he had no choice but to move him.
The Leafs won nine of those games. Kessel scored 20 points in those 43 games, a point-a-game player scoring at less than half-a-point a game. And maybe worse than those numbers, he was minus-27.
Shanahan challenged Kessel. Kessel wilted. That was the end of the Toronto story.
In 446 games in Toronto, Kessel had 394 points, including 181 goals.
“When you have an illness, you must get rid of the poison,” wrote Simmons when Kessel was traded.
The infection returns this summer with a Stanley Cup in hand.
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