Showing posts with label Jordan Staal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jordan Staal. Show all posts

Friday, August 10, 2012

ESPN: Kessel's Draft Combine wasn't pretty.

Goon's World All-Time Most Viewed Blog Post

Phil Kessel's Combines; "It wasn't pretty."

I wanted to dust this blog post off so other could read it. From time to time this article is linked on various fan message boards and web pages. This article was posted on USHCO.COM Kessel Discussion I find it kind of interesting.

"This weeks ESPN Magazine written by Gare Joyce, has a very interesting article where ESPN followed around Columbus Blue Jacket player personnel director Don Boyd and GM Doug MacLean as the NHL conducted fitness testing and interviews with the top prospects for the NHL draft. Phil Kessel has quite a bit spoken about him, most of it very unfavorable."

What follows are some excerpts from the famous article in question...

May 29th Toronto

Kessel- At 17, the forward starred for the US team at the 2005 world juniors. He would have gone No. 2 behind Sidney Crosby in last year's draft if he'd been eligible, but his stock has since plunged. He spent last season on the U of Minnesota's third line.

"Strenght?" Boyd asks.

"Speed" and "scoring" go up on the board.

Then the minuses pour out. Says Brian Bates, the Minneapolis scout who saw him the most: "I wonder about his game awareness sometimes."

"There might be some selfish play there sometimes," Boyd adds.

June 2nd Toronto

Kessel walks into the room. The Blue Jackets are the first of 20 interviews on his schedule. He is barely in his seat before Boyd says, "Teammates."


"Do you know what I'm talking about?"

"No," Kessel says.

He most certainly does. Kessel has a reputation for being disliked by teammates wherever he's played. Jack Johnson, 2nd overall in last year's draft, called him "a dirtbag" during one of his combine interviews.


"I don't have a problem with my teammates."

More silence.

"I don't have a problem with Jack Johnson."

More silence.

"I had lunch with him practically every day."

What about the TV report about that bar serving underage Gophers?

"Happens everywhere," Kessel says.

Only 18 goals last season when you were compared to Sidney Crosby the year before?

"I was on the third line...we rolled four lines."

Kessel's time is up. He leaves, seemingly aware that his was a less-than-stellar performance.

June 2nd Toronto- Physicals and Fitness testing

"What you get a look at here," Boyd says, "is just how willing the kids are to work on their own and what their work ethic is like."

As if on cue, Kessel comes in. He looks around nervously. A few minutes later, Kessel looks gassed on the bike, stopping at seven minutes.

June 23rd Vancouver

Kessel walks in holding an empty water bottle. He shakes hands, sits on the couch and starts tapping the bottle against his palm, a drum beat...

Boyd jumps in. "Phil, I watched you test at the combine. How do you think you did?"

I think I did pretty well. It was tough. I just came back from the world championships. Didn't have that much chance to prepare for it."

"You walked around that room," Boyd says. "You saw the conditioning level of other guys. Where do you think your conditioning is? A lot of guys look like they've been in the gym longer than you. I'm not talking about the past few weeks. I'm talking about the past year, year and a half."

"I doubt that."

"You train pretty hard?" Boyd says.

"Yeah. I mean, I didn't have a chance to work out for practically a month and a half."

There are other questions. About his relationships with teammates. About his rep as a party guy. Then Boyd goes directly to the scouting report. "How would you respond to this: 'A little bit immature, needs to work a little harder in the gym, practice a little harder, needs to learn some social skills, people skills.' We'll leave it at that."

Kessel's voice falls to a whisper. "I'd say, okay...yeah a little bit...some of that's a little on some of that stuff, I guess."

It's over soon after that. Kessel looks disheartened as he leaves. MacLean looks sad. "If what they're saying about this kid isn't true, it's criminal. Because I don't know if I ever heard the negative stuff like I have with this kid."
Goon's Perspective on the Matter

I think that Gare Joyce's article is a good illustration of one side of the Phil Kessel's story. Nothing more. Some people have said that Phil Kessel is a prima donna, others have said that he's self focused. He's also shy.

Online, people say many things when they hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. Most times, without the fear of retribution. That's life. But when an athlete says something about another athlete that's different. Right?

Let's try looking at it from this angle. Maybe, some of this stuff is actually true? It's possible, right? Yep, it is. Why would people make it up? If not, it's blatant character defamation.

Read the comment below. Are we to believe also that Jack Johnson is an pompous, self serving ass, and just making stuff up about Kessel? 
Kessel walks into the room. The Blue Jackets are the first of 20 interviews on his schedule. He is barely in his seat before Boyd says, "Teammates."


"Do you know what I'm talking about?"

"No," Kessel says.

He most certainly does. Kessel has a reputation for being disliked by teammates wherever he's played. Jack Johnson, 2nd overall in last year's draft, called him "a dirt bag" during one of his combine interviews.
There has been a lot of discussion ad nauseam about Phil Kessel's attitude and whether he's is a cancer in the locker room. There is also the much discussed childhood tiff between Kessel and Jack Skille, when they played youth hockey together in Wisconsin.

Jack Johnson's Character

Johnson is hardly a hack. He's an upcoming star in USA hockey and the NHL. If Johnson is flawed, why does the Carolina Hurricanes want him to leave the University of Michigan and sign a professional contract? The Hurricanes must have seen something in Jack Johnson that they like.

So what,  right? I guess we are all entitled to our own opinions, however, I am still going to take  two professional athletes Jack Johnson's and Jack Skille's word over some random anonymous fan from a message board. 

In conclusion...

I have nothing against Phil Kessel. I think he has amazing offensive talent and has a very big upside.   In the NHL team goals are always going to come first, before individual goals. Its about working as a team and buying into a system, personal stats come second.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Pens to make push for Parise and Suter

Apparently, the Pens have cleared a bunch of cap space and are going to take a serious run at signing Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.

This is an emerging story line that I first heard  on XM Home Ice today. 

I really hope that this does not come to fruition - the Pens with Evgeni Malkin, Zach Parise, Sidney Crosby and Ryan Suter would be the nucleus of a pretty solid hockey team. Adding Parise would give the Pens a legitimate shot at winning a Stanley Cup.
Rob Rossi, Tribune-Review Sports --- Their plan is to pursue the two top players on the market, Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter and New Jersey winger Zach Parise, sources told the Tribune-Review this weekend at the NHL Entry Draft.

Team sources said Crosby soon will sign a new contract in the range of 10 to 13 years with an average annual salary of between $9 million and $10 million and will try to recruit Parise, his longtime friend, and Suter.

The Penguins’ pitch will focus on the standard set by Crosby with his current deal, which is set to expire after the upcoming season. Crosby took less than market value — for him, the league maximum (20 percent of the salary cap) — to provide the Penguins room to build a championship nucleus.

That worked once, with the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. They will try to make it work again by using Crosby’s willingness not to max out on salary as a benchmark for future contracts.

In the wake of the Jordan Staal trade Friday, the Penguins have identified their nucleus as Crosby, reigning league MVP and scoring champ Evgeni Malkin, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, winger James Neal and defenseman Kris Letang.
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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Penguins' Jordan Staal not suspended for punch

NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell has spun the infamous "Wheel of Justice" and Campbell has decided that there will be no suspension for the Penguins' Jordan Staal. I guess I really don't have a problem with it, in a scrum you're going to get hit sometimes especially if you elbow someone.
NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League will not take further action on Penguins center Jordan Staal for his punch to Rangers' forward Brandon Prust's face in the second period of Tuesday's game. Staal received a match penalty and by rule he was automatically suspended until the League reviewed the incident and the Commissioner made a ruling.

"We have reviewed the play and have communicated to (Penguins GM) Ray Shero that Jordan Staal is available to play tonight," NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said.

The Penguins host the New York Islanders tonight.

Staal hit Prust with his left fist and sent him spinning to the ice at the end of a scrum in front of the Rangers' bench. The officials first sent Staal to the box and then sent him to the dressing rooms with the five-minute match penalty.

Prust cleared out Tyler Kennedy with a hard hit and then he got his elbow up on Staal, who appeared to be coming into the fray to defend Kennedy. Staal returned the favor on Prust, dropping him to the ice with a quick left hook.

Jordan Staal Sucker punches Brandon Prust

So how many game suspension does Jordan Staal get for punching Brandon Prust? Does Brandon Prust embellish the hit at all? It will be interesting to see what kind of suspension the Colin Campbell "Wheel of Justice" rules. One could make the argument that Brandon Prust tries to take off Kennedy’s head off, then throws an elbow at Staal. Was the punch warranted. It's looks like a very questionable play in my opinion.