Hearsay: Toronto helps Kessel open up

Phil Kessel will miss the rest of the pre-season due to suspension. (CP/Frank Gunn)
August 13, 2013, 10:57 PM

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KESSEL MORE COMFORTABLE IN TORONTO

The Toronto Sun describes how Phil Kessel’s reticent nature also made it tough for him to connect with media and fans.

“It’s always going to be hard for him,” Phil’s brother Blake, an aspiring NHL defenceman, said after he and Phil battled at Tuesday morning’s scrimmage. “He’s just a quiet guy. That’s what I’ve known for years and it’s nothing against anyone. It’s just how he has always been. He just has his close personal friends and he’s very close with his family (sister Amanda is a college star). That’s what he really likes.”

Kessel turned a corner last season.

“It has been a good thing that Toronto’s really helped him open up a little bit more and he’s getting more and more comfortable,” Blake said. “We can’t wait for (centre Tyler Bozak) to get back in town. It’s fun to see those two interact.”

LEAFS BOOST TORONTO-BORN ROSTER PRESENCE

The Toronto Star describes how the Leafs subtly added two Toronto-born players to the roster this off-season in David Clarkson and Dave Bolland. Another five players on the team are from Ontario.

Assistant GM Dave Poulin: “Be that through the draft (one from Ontario this year), by trade, or by free agency. David Bolland was an opportunity to acquire one of only eight Blackhawks who were on both Cup teams. David Clarkson was the top free agent available and fit our needs. Our theory is always the best available player that fits in with our direction.”

Clarkson: “There haven’t been many (Leafs) from the area. I’m lucky enough to play in this city where I wore that jersey as a kid. Bringing in guys from the home town is a great thing. We know what it’s about. We have a lot of good hockey players in this area. It’s great to have some of us come home and play.”

CANUCKS, OTHERS IN CONTACT WITH MURRAY

The Vancouver Province reports the Canucks and unrestricted free agent Douglas Murray’s camp have been in contact.

“We’ve talked to them off and on all summer,” said player agent Anton Thun. “At this point, we’re not close to signing. There are a group of clubs that have interest, so it comes down to the right circumstances and the right dollars.

“At this point in time there’s a gridlock in terms of cap space and money availability with a number of clubs. Until some of that shakes out and the dominoes start to fall, I think the market is going to be tight. Whenever that starts to shake out, we’ll react accordingly as to what might be the right place.”

Thun said there’s no rush to get a deal done.

“We’ve identified a number of places that would be beneficial to both Douglas and the hockey club,” said Thun. “Douglas is somewhat of a unique player, but I think his skill set fits well in certain situations and not in others.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is make sure it’s the right fit where ever he goes, so the players he’s playing with are complementary to him and he’s complementary to them.”

SHARKS, BOYLE EXPLORING EXTENSION

CSNBayArea.com relays that Dan Boyle’s agent confirmed Tuesday there have been discussions with the Sharks about a potential contract extension for the veteran defenseman.

The 37-year-old Boyle has one year remaining on his current deal, paying him $6.67 million in 2013-14.

According to Boyle’s agent, George Bazos, Boyle has expressed his desire to remain in San Jose and thinks he can be an effective player through the age of 40. Bazos didn’t rule out that something could get done before the start of the season, but talks have not been extensive to this point.

SPRINGSTEEN INSPIRES LIGHTNING’S GWOZDECKY

New Lightning assistant George Gwozdecky spoke with The Tampa Bay Times about a variety of subjects, including the use of Bruce Springsteen in pregame pep talks.

“Every couple of years I would give a pregame speech, usually in a game where it’s one of the opponents who are way down in the league. I would talk about when I first saw Bruce Springsteen when he was a nobody in 1975 in Madison, Wisc. He played in front of 200 people. I had never heard of him. The ticket was $2.50 and I went with a buddy of mine. The concert was unbelievable. For three hours he just, I mean he gave everything. I became an instant fan, and 35 years later I’m at the Pepsi Center in Denver, which is the next time I’ve seen him in concert. I’m watching him perform 35 years later with the same energy and the same passion and the same drive and the same demand of himself and his band to give the audience the best he possibly can. I’m thinking, ‘That’s the definition of greatness.’ The difference between good and great is just a little bit more. He is, in my mind, just another example of why he is great because of the passion he displays.”

BRODEUR WATCHES SON’S TRAINING CAMP EFFORT

The Ottawa Citizen details how Martin Brodeur was making like all the rest of the nervous parents — albeit the only one with a private suite — who were living and dying Tuesday with every move their sons made at training camp for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Gatineau Olympiques.

Conflicting schedules for both father and son these past few years have made it virtually impossible for Brodeur to see his son, Anthony, play live. Tuesday night, Anthony turned in just short of 30 minutes of solid, if unspectacular play for Team Black on Day 3 of the Olympiques’ camp.

“It’s always fun to see my son play,” said the elder Brodeur, who also has a son, Jeremy, set to try out for the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals. “The last four years, with Anthony at (high) school in Minnesota, I might have seen him play four or five times.

“I watched him a lot on the Internet, but it’s not the same.”

WHAT THEY’RE TWEETING ABOUT

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