Toronto Maple Leafs: Why Phil Kessel Must Go

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Since Kessel’s arrival six  seasons ago, there have been three head coaches that have now come and gone. Ron Wilson was at the helm for the first three years that Kessel was in Toronto before being fired near the end of 2011-12 season. He was replaced by former Stanley Cup winning coach Randy Carlyle. Carlyle’s tenure was even shorter than Wilson’s but he was able to get the current core of players into the playoffs during the lockout shortened 2013 season.

Earlier this year, when Carlyle was fired, former coach Ron Wilson had these harsh words to say about Kessel.

“You can’t rely on Phil,” Wilson said on TSN 1050 Radio’s Leafs Lunch. “When he’s not playing well, he’s a hard guy to get on board and get on your side. He shows obvious signs of brilliance but Phil’s problem – it’s pretty much the way he’s been through his career – he’s two weeks on and two weeks off. It’s just the way it is. He comes and goes and he gets emotional. He lets that effect his game and his relationship with other players. That’s what you have to coach.”​

Wilson added….

“Some of the core players have failed under two or three coaches so it’s got to be the player’s fault. You’d have to surmise that some of them might be uncoachable.

I am not a Ron Wilson fan and I never have been but what reason does he have to lie? The Toronto media jumped on Wilson’s suggestions and asked Kessel whether he was “hard to coach.” Kessel’s response was unexpected but showed frustration and a lack of maturity.

Next: Maturity