Maple Leafs Kessel in full damage control

Approximately 24 hours after venting some frustration over his 100 game scoreless streak and being moved to the third line, Phil Kessel was in full damage control on Monday. Kessel, who has 15 goals and 34 points this year with the Toronto Maple Leafs, insisted that some of his quotes on Sunday were taken out of context. Kessel, who wasn’t happy about being moved by coach, Ron Wilson, to the third line in Saturday night’s loss against the Buffalo Sabres was insistent that he and Wilson get along fine and that there has never been a rift. “I love Toronto, I want to be here,” said Kessel, who was traded from the Boston Bruins to the Leafs in September 2009. “I love this city. I love the fans. I love this team. The guys are great here. I don’t want any trade or anything like that. I want to be here for a very long time.” Quite a turnaround from Sunday when the reserved Kessel raised some eyebrows in Leafs’ nation when he said “No, me and Ron (Wilson) don’t really talk. That’s all I have to say about that,” Kessel said. The following statement sounded like he was almost asking for a trade when he said “I don’t know. Maybe it’s just not working out, I guess. Who knows? I didn’t get anything going. Maybe it’s time for a change or something. Who knows?” On Monday he stressed that he meant maybe it’s time for a change in terms of shaking up the lines as opposed to wanting out of Toronto. Meanwhile Coach Wilson believes that Kessel’s comments were taken out of context and that his star forward is just frustrated about not scoring. The two did have a lengthy discussion on Monday and according to both parties, along with, GM Brian Burke, there are no issues between the two. “He has to just figure out a way to just relax,” said Wilson. “That’s what I told him: ‘You’re getting the ice time.’ He plays more minutes than any one of our forwards. We’re not singling him out or anything like that. He’s not scoring. We’re trying to shake things up a little bit — put him with different people.” Currently Kessel is playing on the third line with Joey Crabb and Darryl Boyce.

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