It takes a special kind of team to have a bad week even when games aren't being played, but the Toronto Maple Leafs managed the feat this past week.
Phil Kessel was the last player picked at the all-star draft Friday night, adding extra volume to the argument that the winger the Leafs gave up a pile of high draft picks for isn't an elite talent worth building a team around. I briefly wondered if the "snub" by his peers might light a fire under the serene sniper, but got a quick answer as the TSN cameras cut to a yawning Kessel. Oh well.
The other big controversy sprang from the results of a joint poll by Hockey Night in Canada and the NHL Players' Association. Leafs bench boss Ron Wilson was voted the coach players would least like to play for and Toronto tied Montreal as the fifth-least desirable place to play. I bethose were fun questions for the players to answer yesterday on their first day back to work.
The Florida Panthers are in town and James Mirtle is back with the team. He'll write in this space ahead of tonight's game.
Until then, the links:
The less than kind results of that HNIC/NHLPA poll had Brian Burke and various Leaf players in damage control mode yesterday.
Toronto Star reporter Paul Hunter speaks to captain Dion Phaneuf on the anniversary of his trade from the Calgary Flames.
Toronto Sun reporter Terry Koshan on the various kicks to the groin the Leafs organization has endured this season. Good times.
Sun columnist Steve Buffery writes in defence of Ron Wilson.
Here's a look at Matt Stajan and the Flames one year after the big trade.
National Post reporter Sean Fitz-Gerald on the NHLPA survey and Kris Versteeg's car being vandalized.
Down Goes Brown gets his hands on text messages sent to Phil Kessel during the all-star draft.
Slava Duris at The Leafs Nation.com has compiled the scoring chance statistics for the first 49 games of the Leafs season.
Houses of the Hockey has the unreleased questions and answers from the NHLPA survey.