Well, it's over.
After months of rumors, "sources" advising that a deal was in the works, Ol' One Nut aka Midseason Mono aka He Who Shows Taint With Torn Shorts aka Phil Kessel has moved on. Brian Burke wanted his man...and he got him.
Here's why I'm not too upset.
Kessel has an assload of speed. He also reminds me of the kid in Mighty Ducks that can skate like a motherfucker but can't stop (as previously noted). However, he refuses to go into the corners and get a little dirty, instead preferring to float around with his stick in the air, waiting for a sweet Savvy centering pass. His work ethic and attitude have been suspect since day one, as were his backchecking abilities (he had none).
The Bruins emerged with a bunch of high draft picks, similar to when Glen Wesley was offloaded back in the day. Anyone that says draft picks don't mean shit should take a look at who those picks in the Wesley deal turned out to be.
Boston has a good problem right now: they have a bunch of kids in Providence that are chomping at the bit to make it to the bigs. Letting Kessel go will open a much-coveted spot on the side. I have no doubt that someone will fill it and do so in a great manner.
Kessel is young and was in a supportive environment in Boston. He is jumping into an absolutely RABID media situation. He'll be making big bucks over the next five years and will be expected to produce huge goal totals. He is not going to a team that has the offensive depth that he enjoyed on the Bruins. Last year, if Kessel didn't score, Ryder would put one in. If Ryder didn't score, Kobasew would put one in. And if Kobasew failed, Thornton could be counted on for a fight...and then a serious wrist shot that flew past the goalie. The Bruins were/are the definition of "deep." Who is going to feed him this year? Jason Blake, he of albino features? Kessel is bigger than he is (and so is my sixteen year old sister...now that I think of it, she can hit better, too). Ol' One Nut benefited from a slick Savvy and a banging Looch. Their presence enabled him to fly all over the ice and...just....wait....for that puck that would undoubtedly end up on his stick. He will not have this backup in Toronto. His cherry-picking days are over.
For those that retort with the "oh, he's so fast that he created his own offensive opportunities," I agree to a point. He does have game-changing speed, but we've all seen what happens 90% of the time. He'll try that little curl and drag move, hoping that the d-man takes the bait. In today's NHL, the majority of d-men are just as agile as the forwards. More often than not, Kessel would get a glove in the face and end up in the corner on his ass, snow in his ears.
The only thing I'm upset about in this entire situation is this: Kessel has shown the "I want more money" bullshit that I've written of in the past. I'm not going to get on my soapbox again (my back hurts from crawling up there so much as of late), but fuck him. He's playing a game and was squabbling over a dollar amount that was (and is) excessive as hell.
I don't wish Kessel ill. However, I know that I will be quietly smirking to myself at the end of this season. He will not produce the way he did in Boston and I'm sure his self-esteem is going to take an absolute fucking beating having to deal with the media up there.
Alas, we make our beds. And we must sleep in them. Hopefully the 5.5 million each year for the next 5 will help him find a good shrink. He'll need it.