Last night Phil Kessel returned to Boston and Boston showed why they were comfortable trading such a talented player. Basically, Boston knows where Kessel’s off-switch is. They showed everyone last night as they simply played him super tight, taking away his speed and his wrist shot. He finished the game with just two shots on goal.
Kessel is an incredibly talented player but he hasn’t developed a secondary skill set yet. And that’s why Toronto is a terrific place for Kessel to be. Playing on a Brian Burke team (and make no mistake, Ron Wilson may be the coach, but Toronto is a Burke team), Kessel is going to be forced into a more aggressive, down-low game sooner or later. And if Kessel can figure out how to survive around the crease, it won’t matter when teams smother him like Boston did.