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be hurt by his occasional inactivity. "
It was just before the 2008 World Championships in Halifax and Team USA was holding a pre-tournament camp in Portland, Maine. Dion Waiters Jersey . Jeff Halpern, serving as the American captain, was informing and inviting teammates to a fishing trip off the coast of Maine, in a gulf of the Atlantic Ocean. He wondered if Phil Kessel, then a 20-year-old playing for the Boston Bruins, wanted to come along. I get seasick in the bathtub, Kessel said, according to a later recounting by his future boss in Toronto, Brian Burke. I guess thats a no, Halpern responded. No, Kessel said, if the guys are going Im going. So he went, puked his guts out, but did it because was a team function, Burke beamed proudly on the day Kessel was officially traded to the Maple Leafs, defending the character of his newest asset, one that came with a high price ultimately. More than six long years later, Burke long since deposed as the teams president and general manager, and many of those same questions still surround Kessel, now 27-years-old and the highest-paid player in Toronto. Can the Leafs win a Cup with Kessel at the forefront? And if not, which seems to be case, then what should Brendan Shanahan and a revamped management group do about it? What can they do about it? Kessel remains under contract until 2022 at an annual cap hit of $8 million or more than 11 percent of the current cap. Is a player with that contract and those attributes tradable? And if so, then how tradable? What kind of market would exist for such a unique talent and personality? What kind of return would a player like Kessel net in a climate thats become increasingly wise to the functions of team success? Do the negatives of Kessels game outweigh the positives? Are the Leafs better in the long-term by trading by far their most talented player? Does that put them on the right path toward chasing a Cup? These are only some of the questions facing Shanahan as it pertains to the face of Torontos franchise, a player whos scored more goals than anyone but Alexander Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos since the start of the 2011-12 season, more points than anyone but Claude Giroux and Evgeni Malkin. I just want to help the team win here, Kessel said on the day he was first introduced as a Leaf. Thats the main goal here. Its not individual goals, its me coming in here doing whatever I can to help the organization and the team win hockey games. What wasnt in doubt then or now is the quality of those offensive gifts. Kessel remains one of the most dangerous and feared players in the league with a shot that may be unequaled in terms of the quickness with which it launches off the stick. Kessel, who has had a blasé kind of year, still sits around the top-10 in league scoring and remains on pace to either match or set new career-highs in a slew of offensive categories. Hes had several great years, Burkes replacement, Dave Nonis, said after re-signing Kessel for eight years and $64 million on the eve of last season. If you look at his point totals and his goal totals over the last two and three seasons hes up there with some pretty elite players. But for all the mesmerizing things Kessel can do on the ice, he detracts just about as much. Hes prone to bits of laziness – both on and off the ice – lacks noticeable effort in his own zone and often ends up costing his team more goals than he scores. Kessel and his two regular linemates, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak, have been the Leafs worst possession trio this season. They are consistently and unnervingly hemmed in the defensive zone for extended periods. Its not a new issue either, its one that dates back to the days of Ron Wilson, Kessels first coach in Toronto. Phils problem, said Wilson during an interview with TSN Radio on Tuesday, hes two weeks on and two weeks off and you just hope that you can get him playing his best hockey for as long as possible. You cant rely on Phil. Its just the way it is. You have to know that Phil is going to give you everything hes got for two or three weeks and then for the next two or three weeks everything seems to go wrong for Phil. Thats just the way it is. The Leafs signed Kessel for the long haul under the premise, seemingly, that his potent production would be impossible to replace. But that assumes that the good outweighs the bad and that may not be the case, especially if Kessel assumes the role of the teams best and highest-paid player. It also ignores the grander question of whether Kessel can help a team achieve the ultimate goal of winning a Cup. Boston, facing cap troubles in the fall of 2009, decided not. They pulled the trigger to move Kessel after he scored 36 goals as a 21-year-old. They won their Cup two years later. Claude Julien, Ron Wilson, Randy Carlyle, they all tried to change Kessel into something he was not, to mold him into a piece of a winning product. They could not. Whats to suggest then that something will change under the next head coach in Toronto? You never change a leopards spots, Wilson said. I think you paint over some of those spots, but theyll eventually shine through the paint and thats just too bad. Kessel is an incredibly capable and gifted player and he could probably be a piece on a winning team, just not the piece. Could he play the Patrick Kane role on a deeper team? Perhaps and perhaps thats the type of team willing to spring for his talents. Beyond just the burdensome decision of even trading Kessel is the potential return. What kind of value does Kessel have in a trade with the amount of money hes owed and the questions surrounding his performance and personality? How many teams would even be interested? And for a team like Toronto, one thats not contending for a Cup anytime soon, what kind of risk is there in hanging on to Kessel as he nears and then surpasses age 30, when the gifts that make him such a special talent start to wither if even a little? Kessel is the biggest piece of a web that needs to be untangled. The Leafs have too many flawed players locked up for too long, a core thats proven barely good enough to qualify for the playoffs, let alone win a Cup. Kessel is not the only problem – far from it – and on a different team he may not be a problem at all, but he also may not be part of the solution either, especially as the leading act. Is it worth sacrificing his tremendous gifts, though, for the betterment of the team in the long-term? These are really difficult questions. Moving on from Kessel is not a simple decision. Not many players, simply put, can do what he does. The Leafs would be worse, far worse really, without Kessel in the short-term. But theyve also been a badly flawed team with him at the forefront and that seems unlikely to change anytime soon. Kessel, ultimately, is the elephant in the room that Shanahan and the teams front office will have to confront one day, if they havent already. Moving on from the player, personality, and contract is a decision they probably should make given the bleak history of his time in Toronto as the front man, but its certainly no easy choice. This whole job is a high-wire act without a net, said Burke, Shanahans predecessor as team president, on the day Kessel was introduced. Every deal we make were betting on a human being, were betting on Phil, taking a chance. Thats how it works. I dont think were taking much of a chance. Wayne Ellington Jersey .  Seriously. Seven years of losing has brought many different faces, players and management, to the annual pre-season get-to-know-the-team round up. Custom Miami Heat Jerseys . Schaub will start for an injured Case Keenum and try to help the Texans end a 12-game skid. Schaubs last action in Houston came when he took over late in a game against Oakland on Nov. 17 as Keenum was struggling. http://www.basketballheatshop.info/Cheap...at-Jersey/ .J. Mayo made seven three-pointers and scored 25 points, Ersan Ilyasova added 20, and the Milwaukee Bucks placed seven players in double figures in a 130-110 rout of the Philadelphia 76ers, who lost their 11th straight game on Monday night.REGINA -- The Western final is behind Calgary running back Jon Cornish. The Eastern final, however, still rankles Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray. One of the two will have something to celebrate Thursday night as the CFL hands out its annual awards. Cornish is up for both Most Outstanding Player, against Ray, and Outstanding Canadian, against Winnipeg linebacker Henoc Muamba. Cornishs Stampeders were ousted 35-13 by Saskatchewan last weekend while Rays Argonauts were bounced 36-24 by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. For Ray, the scab is still fresh. "It is tough because youve got to wait six months until you get to really put it out of your system by moving on to the next year," he said of the pain. "Those are the games that are always going to haunt you a little bit. "Even losing the Grey Cup in Edmonton my first year (in 2002), I still have bad memories from that game. Even though Ive been back and been able to be on the victorious side, I still have bad thoughts about that game. Im sure this will continue to give me bad thoughts throughout my career." Cornish is past the pain. "I sort of left it back in Calgary," he said Wednesday night in a pre-awards availability. "It would have been harder to swallow if it was a closer game, But the way we lost and having seven turnovers, its not hard to be able to walk away from a game like that and just forget about it. We didnt play Stampeder football. Theres no use in holding onto it." Cornish led the league in rushing with a Canadian-record 1,813 yards. The 29-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., was also No. 1 in yards from scrimmage (2,157) and TDs (14). When healthy, Ray was like a metronome with a league-record 77.2 per cent completion average and just two interceptions in 303 pass attempts. The 34-year-old from California missed six starts due to injury and was a healthy scratch in Torontos regular-season finale He was in a remarkable groove for most of the season. "It felt like guys were open. I was just dropping back and finding guys open," Ray said. "Things were just clicking ... Its a good feeliing to have. Tyler Johnson Jersey. " But the finale to the season inexplicably went south after a fine first half against Hamilton. "They just came out and played better. Obviously I didnt play good enough to win," he said. "Thats what you think about when you lose. You think about all the plays you wish you could have back to do over again. Maybe make a better throw, a better read." Ray was offered the chance to take in the championship game as a spectator but declined. "It would be tough to watch the game live and sit in the cold. Id just think about last week and wanting to be here. So I chose not to." Ray and Cornish exchanged compliments in their separate media scrums. "Cornish has been one of the best, most consistent guys weve had in this league over the last few years," said Ray. "Just the numbers hes been able to put up on a game-by-game basis, add them up throughout the year and its pretty special." Said Cornish: "Rickys performance this year is going to go down in the record books for his effectiveness on every play. Ive been saying for years Ricky Ray is one of the best players in this league. For me, not even winning, just being up against him is one of the biggest honours Ive had." Ray may well be hurt by his occasional inactivity. "I guess the big question is did I play enough," he said. Tight end Tony Gabriel (1978, Ottawa) and quarterback Russ Jackson (1963, 66, 69) are the only Canadians to have won Most Outstanding Player honours. Cornish is one of four Stampeder nominees, joining defensive end Charleston Hughes (defensive player), centre Brett Jones (rookie) and kicker Rene Paredes (special-teams player). Brendon LaBatte of the Saskatchewan Roughriders was the West Divisions top lineman. The other East Division finalists are Montreal linebacker Chip Cox (defensive player), Toronto centre Jeff Keeping (lineman), Hamilton Tiger-Cats running back C.J. Gable (rookie) and Marc Beswick (special-teams player). The awards are voted on by the Football Reporters of Canada and the leagues eight head coaches. cheap falcons jerseys cheap ravens jerseys cheap bills jerseys cheap bears jerseys cheap bengals jerseys cheap cowboys jerseys cheap lions jerseys cheap texans jerseys cheap colts jerseys cheap jaguars jerseys cheap chiefs jerseys cheap rams jerseys cheap dolphins jerseys cheap vikings jerseys cheap saints jerseys cheap giants jerseys cheap jets jerseys cheap eagles jerseys cheap steelers jerseys cheap 49ers jerseys ' ' '

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