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Burke: Kessel is a ‘first violin’

Posted By Graig Woodburn On December 3, 2009 @ 7:46 am In General | 2 Comments

With Phil Kessel [1] set to return to Boston for a contest against the Bruins on Saturday night, there is little doubt he has gotten off to a fast start with his new team in Toronto. The ex-Bruin has eight goals and five assists in 14 games.

‘€œWe were looking for a dynamic, explosive offensive player and Phil has delivered on that,’€ Toronto general manager Brian Burke said during a phone call with WEEI.com this week. ‘€œWe paid a very high price. Peter Chiarelli drove a hard bargain. But we were happy to pay it. He has delivered exactly what we hoped to get.’€

As for any purported deficiencies in Kessel’€™s game, Burke, who built a Stanley Cup-winning team in Anaheim, has an interesting analogy as to why a team needs a variety of playing styles and strengths.

‘€œI use the analogy of an orchestra, I think you need a first violin and you need a guy on the drum,’€ said Burke, no apologist for players who lack grit or passion.

‘€œEverybody talks about how I like big teams. My teams are big, but my teams are also highly skilled. I’€™ve had plenty of players who didn’€™t fit this profile that people think I want ‘€” of cave-dwelling, hard-nosed guys. My philosophy is very simple: I build top-six [forwards], bottom-six [forwards]. Top-six forwards is where I love skill and speed, my power-play unit comes from that group. My bottom-six guys are more pick-and-shovel men.

‘€œPhil Kessel [2] is a first violin,’€ Burke said.


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URLs in this post:

[1] Phil Kessel: http://weei.stats.com/nhl/playerstats.asp?id=3983&team=21

[2] Phil Kessel: http://media.weei.com/hockey/phil-kessel.htm

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