Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Neverending Story: Kessel & Seguin

A reading of the 10 Commandments reminds us that 'thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife'.

It’s an important commandment to be sure, as a man could drive himself mad if he allows adoration of his neighbour’s wife to consume him. It’s best to love the one you’re with – and be content with that.

However, I fear I’ve been guilty of breaking this rule the last several weeks as I’ve watched Bruins center Tyler Seguin blossom into one of the league’s most productive players. He’s shown consistency in all 3 zones of the ice, back checking effectively, making smart reads in the neutral zone, and burying his chances in the offensive zone. He no longer looks like the lost, undersized 18 year old of early 2010, as he’s delivering nightly the potential he flashed so emphatically in last year’s playoff run. Sporting a strong 14 points in 12 games it’s fair to say Seguin has “arrived” in the NHL as a front line player.

Please don’t get me wrong here – I’m happy. I like Phil Kessel as a hockey player, I really do. Quite possibly the best wrist shot this side of Jarome Iginla – blazing speed - and an increased affinity to make the smart pass at the right moment. He’s delivered 30, and 32 goals respectively in his first 2 full seasons with the Leafs, and with 21 points through the first 14 games of 2011-12 he appears primed to have the best year of his career.

Still I find myself wondering about Seguin – like that girl in high school you wish you’d taken a chance on (you know the one). Then you attend the 10 year high school reunion to find out she’s a successful lawyer who did some modelling work in her early 20s.

What will the 2020 newspaper articles (although I’m sure newspapers will be fully extinct by then) conclude about the Kessel trade? 10 years from now will we still yearn to see Tyler in our beloved blue and white?

Perhaps we’ll always wonder, perhaps we’re doomed to compare Kessel and Seguin at every step of their careers. Scrutinizing every goal, every award, every playoff success and disappointment. I’m ready to be done with the whole thing. Was it a great trade for the Toronto Maple Leafs – no. Was it a horrible trade – no. We as Leaf fans need to embrace the fact that this trade is officially a thing of the past, relegated to the history books of Leaf Nation. Let’s focus on the future. Let’s write articles about Kulemin's outstanding 2-way play, or Lupuls emergence as a legitimate first line winger. I don’t know who will have the more successful career between Kessel and Seguin – but I know we’ll have plenty of time to debate it once they’ve retired and the dust has officially settled.

Moving forward in our future together I want Phil to know that I truly believe in him – I really do – he’s shown me a side of himself through the early going of this season I didn’t know existed. But if I’m pulling into the driveway at home after a long day at work, and sneak a peek across to the neighbour’s lawn at Tyler Seguin working in the garden, can you blame me?

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