When you think of Boston, you think of the “Big Bad Bruins.” Well, it turns out that for the upcoming season the Bruins rivals north of the border in Toronto are trying to emulate that mantra—at least the “Big” part.
Following yet another disappointing season at the Air Canada Centre, Maple Leafs star forward and ex-Bruin, Phil Kessel took a different—to put it nicely—approach to his offseason conditioning and workouts.
According to a Sportsnet.ca report, Kessel was quoted saying, “honestly, I skated maybe—I don’t want to tell you this—but I skated 10 times maybe all summer.”
Okay, so he didn’t skate much, but there are many other ways to stay in hockey shape throughout the offseason, as he explained, “I don’t talk hockey or have anything to do with hockey in the summer. I probably take a month off. I live in Florida in the summer, so I go down there and golf and fish and do that kind of stuff and get away, and then I’ll start working out again.”
Leafs fans should feel confident though, because when asked about his conditioning, Kessel had this to say, “I think I’ll be fine in that. It’s easy.” He thinks he will be fine. That sounds very reassuring.
Now I know this seems a bit harsh, and these world-class athletes should take some time off to recuperate and reenergize, but the lackadaisical nature of Kessel’s attitude toward bettering himself, especially considering how last season ended for the Leafs would be concerning to me as a fan.
But don’t worry, the Toronto Maple Leafs organization are in great shape when it comes to the recently announced ESPN Ultimate Team Standings, wherein the Maple Leafs ranked 122nd out of all the North American sports franchises. The only problem, there are only 122 sports franchises involved in the rankings.
That’s right, the Maple Leafs are dead last. For reference the Bruins are a respectable 39th. But back to the Leafs…in a city where hockey rules, they are ranked worst in fan value, and as the ESPN article points out, an average ticket price of $122.20 is a stunning 34 percent higher than any other team in the NHL.
As a fan, to pay 34 percent more than any other NHL team for a seat, the product on the ice should be flawless—not slow, overweight and out of shape. Things are already looking good in southern Ontario and the skates haven’t even hit the ice.
I will give credit where credit is due, and Kessel was able to catch an 11-foot, 450 pound shark off the Florida coast…so I guess all hope isn’t lost.