Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/21/13 at 09:30 AM ET
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
It's fair to say the conversation around Phil Kessel changed somewhat with his performance during last spring's memorable playoff clash with Boston, and with Kessel apparently in improved physical shape this summer heading into a contract year, there's every chance he may finally become the consistently explosive player the Leafs (and Brian Burke) believed they were getting in 2009.
If that happens, or even if it doesn't, an eight-year deal in the $70 million range is in the offing, and all indications are that Kessel wants to stay in Toronto and that the Leafs are determined to keep him and pay him the huge money.
If that's the case, the Leafs need get this matter wrapped up before Christmas, rather than have it linger into next winter and close to the trade deadline.
Beyond that, Kessel's image in the city will be intriguing to watch, particularly with teammates like Joffrey Lupul and newly arrived David Clarkson focussed on making significant impacts on the local community.
more plus some non-NHL topics...
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