The producers of HBO's “24/7” are about to enlarge the already fishbowl existence of the Toronto Maple Leafs to Great Lakes proportions and the hockey team is providing a myriad of storylines worthy of a daytime soap opera.
Whither Phil Kessel, the talented but suddenly troubled leading scorer, who departed Wednesday’s practice under mysterious circumstances after a brief discussion with coach Randy Carlyle?
“He said that he’d had enough practice and he said that he didn’t feel good in one area of his body so we let him go,” Carlyle told reporters afterward.
Carlyle really said that and was only sticking to the tired script that NHL coaches will follow in order to cover up the full extent of player injuries.
No word yet if Kessel will be available Thursday night where the sinking Leafs will attempt to snap a five-game losing streak against the Dallas Stars.
The plot only sickens as centre Tyler Bozak and enforcer Colton Orr were also absent from practice dealing with injuries. Joffrey Lupul was in attendance but also left early, his sore groin supposedly still troubling him.
What intrigue, what suspense!
This should all make for interesting fodder for the filming of “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic”, the reality based all-access program that the Leafs agreed to star in heading into the January 1 outdoor event at Michigan Stadium.
Having prying cameras present behind closed doors for the next several weeks capturing all the Leaf secrets will no doubt ramp up the pressure in the already turbulent world of the players
“For us, we would do our regular media obligations, but then every day you would do 10 or 15 minutes with HBO after,” said Brooks Laich, who went through the “24/7” treatment as a member of the Washington Capitals back in 2010. “And they might show maybe 30 seconds in a month’s worth of interviews that you have. I think at some point it’s OK for guys to say ‘no’ but you really have to learn how to balance it and not let it affect you—not let the cameras distract you from anything. But it’s a difficult task because it’s a pretty involved and intrusive process.”
Wasn’t it just last month that a certain Montreal mayor was wading into the world of the Canadiens and making roster suggestions?
Good thing the Habs did not pay heed to the advice of Denis Coderre to hand David Desharnais a one-way ticket to the minors.
Desharnais scored the tying goal late in the third period and then potted the deciding goal in a shootout that provided Montreal with a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.
In Calgary, the Flames welcomed back their captain, Mark Giordano, in style with a 4-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
And Giordano, playing in his first game since Oct. 21 when he suffered a broken ankle, did his part, scoring a goal and an assist in the win.
NFL interfering with Tomlin
In what must be the first time an interference penalty has been levied against a coach, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin has been dinged $100,000 by the National Football League for wandering onto the playing field during the Steelers game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Saurez one of the best
Even non-soccer fans would have to be impressed with the performance of Luis Saurez, who scored four times for Liverpool in their 5-1 Premier League victory over Norwich.
Saurez now deserves comparison to soccer greats Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo according to his Liverpool coach.
The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web most weekday mornings
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