Monday musings for your dining and dancing pleasure:
Three games into the season, it looks as though Leafs GM Brian Burke can finally say he would make the Phil Kessel trade all over again without having his fingers and toes crossed.
And Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli could say precisely the same.
To be sure, things are starting to really get interesting in the most discussed and dissected trade in the NHL over the past couple of seasons and Saturday night provided the perfect backdrop for the analysts. In what was probably his best game as a Leaf, Kessel scored twice in the come-from-behind 3-2 win over Calgary to move them to 3-0-0, while Tyler Seguin, the cornerstone draft pick the Boston Bruins received in return, assisted on the tying goal and scored the decisive one in the Bruins 3-2 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
What’s more, Kessel leads the league in goals (five), points (eight) and plus-minus (plus-7), while Seguin leads the Bruins with a goal and five points. Meanwhile, Dougie Hamilton, the other first round pick the Bruins received in the Kessel deal, leads all Ontario League defensemen in scoring with five goals and 17 points in nine games with the Niagara IceDogs and Jared Knight, the 2010 second-rounder the Bruins also received, has six goals and nine points in eight games for the London Knights.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Kessel in the early going is he’s finally scoring goals that mean something. Kessel gets his 30 goals every year, but too often they were the second goal in a 5-2 loss that was scored in the third period - and not enough of them came in months ending in “ber.” That has to change if the Leafs are going to get full value out of Kessel and tilt the trade back in their favor.
The returns early in the season are impressive, though, from both sides of the equation.
THAT’LL TEACH ‘EM
The NHL responded to Arron Asham’s self-described “classless” gesture after a fight with Jay Beagle last week by doing what it does best. It sent out a memo.
Instead of fining or suspending Asham, the league distributed a memo to each team warning that such displays will not be tolerated in the future and that to do so could be in contravention of rule 75.2, which deals with unsportsmanlike conduct, and that there could be further supplemental discipline.
The league did this apparently because, get this, the players had not been expressly warned about the repercussions of those kinds of gestures after a fight.
Just so we have this straight, the players had to actually be told acting as though you’re in the Federal League after a fight wouldn’t be deemed acceptable? Really?
SHARING THE LOVE
Judging by the responses to my column last Friday, I have never seen a deluge of vitriol like the one directed at me after I suggested Asham should have been suspended. And that’s saying something. (For the record, I said Asham should have been disciplined only for the histrionics after the fight. As far as the fight went, he deserved nothing more than what the rulebook stipulates, a five-minute major.)
I thought I would share some of the feedback (unedited) with you, along with my responses:
From drew: “You are officially the dumbest man on the planet.”
Response: I really wish my wife would stop posting under the pseudonym ‘drew.’
From Molson16: “ken (sic) aaron (sic) asham should punch your teeth out.”
Response: I’d like to see him try. I could take that punk with one hand tied behind my back.
From Nicholas Brian: “The more I read The Hockey News, the more I realize how retarded the columnists here are. Between Campbell and Proteau, I don’t know who’s worse.”
Response: My vote definitely goes to Proteau.
From David_mc_19: “I finally am going to cancel my magazine subscription and it’s because of this guy trying to shove his views issue after issue over and over again.”
Response: Hey David, newsflash: I’m a columnist. That’s what they pay me to do.
From Jim: “My guess is that you have never been in a fight once in your life judging by how much of a midget you are.”
Response: I’m 5-foot-6. Technically, that makes me a shrimp, not a midget.
From Sharpy26: “Campbell, shut up. Your (sic) a disgrace to hockey columnist (sic) everywhere. Maybe you should write about ping-pong or something. Your (sic) an idiot.”
Response: When it comes to what the NHL should do about struggling franchises, we’ll put you down as not in favor of contraction.
From Dms1970: “Wow, Ken, you are certainly a very sheltered man, for that to get your panties in a bind.”
Response: What I wear in the privacy of my own home when the wife is out of town is nobody’s business but mine.
From Trezhan: “Is Ken Campbell a normal writer for the magazine?”
Response: Well, apparently, I wear panties. You decide.
From dragonlasers: Good god this retard, Campbell, needs to be thrown into a lava pit for his continuing candyass opinions.
Response: Damn straight. We need more people like you in Canada’s justice system.
And my personal favorite, from tlj56ram: “If Crosby can not (sic) take a hit, he should not be playing hockey. We do NOT need another Gretzky.”
Response: I couldn’t agree more. Paul Kariya, Patrice Bergeron, Pat LaFontaine and Eric Lindros had no business in the NHL, either. And that Gretzky guy was a complete blight on the game.
THIS AND THAT
• After drawing an “announced” crowd of 15,285 for its home opener, the Dallas Stars had gatherings of 6,306, 7,949 and 8,305 for their next three games, which were all wins. That total of 22,560 is about 1,000 more than the Montreal Canadiens get for one game. Baseball playoffs or no baseball playoffs, that is pathetic…
• Things that make a guy wonder. Three of the league’s best scorers - Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry - have three goals among them in 13 games to start the season…
• Speaking of teams that draw poorly, the early contender in the first-coach-to-be-fired sweepstakes has to be Scott Arniel of the Columbus Blue Jackets…
• Imagine what would have happened if someone on the Phoenix Coyotes had established a single-game record in their game against the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night. He would have then established a franchise record for the Winnipeg Jets/Coyotes. If someone on the Jets had done the same, he would have put himself in the Atlanta Thrashers/Jets record book.
Ken Campbell, author of the book Habs Heroes, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com with his column.
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