Phil Kessel, now of the Pittsburgh Penguins, continues to be criticized as he leaves Canada.
Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images
By Liam McGuire
Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colby Armstrong had choice words about old teammate Phil Kessel. Speaking to Sportsnet 590 (H/T to theScore’s Ian McLaren for transcribing), Armstrong said being the American sniper’s teammate was a bit frustrating.
We all see what he does: He skates fast to the puck, he shoots the puck, he can make things happen. But when the game’s on the line, if he can get a goal for you, that’s about all he’s gonna do. As far as winning battles and the extra mile, it did become, for me as a teammate, a little bit frustrating at times.
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As a teammate, exactly what you see is what you get. And sometimes it was frustrating, wondering whether he was gonna be there for you or not.
So basically, Armstrong is saying Kessel can score when the game is on the line, yet he doesn’t go the extra mile? What? Ultimately, the NHL is about winning and you’d think Kessel was doing everything he could to do exactly that – aka scoring goals at clutch times. Kessel’s not a bruiser, nor is he a gritty player, but that doesn’t mean he’s not effective. Kessel scored six game-winning goals in Armstrong’s last season with the Leafs, where Armstrong scored one goal total.
Armstrong hasn’t played in the NHL since 2012-13, and is likely trying to make a name for himself on the broadcasting side. Making statements like this one certainly puts his name out there, but I’m not sure it accomplishes much else.
Glad to see the Toronto media continuing to drag Kessel’s name through the mud, despite him not being a part of the Leafs organization anymore. Some things never change.