Toronto Maple Leafs: Why Phil Kessel Must Go

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Apr 8, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


“I expect you to bring it everyday. Every single day. And I expect you to be a man when you don’t. And own your own stuff. Period.” –Mike Babcock, May 21- Sportsnet

I know what you’re thinking. Phil isn’t that kinda player. He isn’t the type of guy that is comfortable in a leadership role. Leadership can be defined in many different ways though.

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I will agree that Kessel isn’t the kind of personality that should be wearing a letter on his jersey. He isn’t the guy that’s going to stand up in front of the team during a losing streak and change things with an epic speech.

What he does need to realize is that there are different kinds of leadership. There is a certain role you must accept when you are the highest paid player on the team. You lead by example by showing every other player on your team what it takes to be the best.

It has been suggested that Kessel is the last one on the ice and the first one off. Is that the kind of example you want your star player setting for the William Nylander and Mitch Marner’s that will soon become big parts of the big club? One can only wonder where Nazem Kadri might be right now had he had a Jonathan Toews or Steven Stamkos to set a proper example for him over the past few years.

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