As you can imagine, reaction to Phil Kessel calling Dave Feschuk an idiot has been split. On the one side, there are the people that cannot comprehend why Phil Kessel being asked if he is uncoachable - and therefore to blame for Randy Carlyle's firing - would be such a hot button question. On the other hand, there are people that understand that hockey players are human beings - despite professing to ignore every shred of coverage of the team - that are well aware of what is being said about them, by whom, and where questions in the dressing room are leading.
Since hockey players aren't actually automatons - as the media love to remind us when they have some wannabe-award-winning, mawkish story that they want to go viral - they don't approach every single interaction with a reporter like a goldfish. They know who they feel has treated them and their teammates poorly. Coaches do the same thing which is why Ron Wilson eventually had the famous blow up with Howard Berger after the former has stupidly criticized the former's integrity one too many times.
Now imagine that you're Phil Kessel. On the day that your terrible coach is fired, somehow all of the coverage isn't focused on the well documented failures of the coach or how his reputation as a defensive coach was laughably exposed but rather it's focused on a complete dissection of your play, your character, your ability to be part of a winning team, and whether you were nice enough to a reporter. And not just any reporter but one who is regular on the Bash Phil Kessel Squad, one that wanted to trade "a perimeter-hugging" Kessel to free up cap room to sign David Clarkson, one that wondered if the Leafs could win with "their pudgy designated goal scorer happily sports multiple chins", and one that questioned his coachability previously when an angle that cried out less for negative attention was possible.
Now that same reporter is standing in your stall and asking a question that builds off what a former coach said. You listen and you wonder just how he is going to frame your answer in his next piece. Some reporters that live in a utopia suggested he could have used his media training and given straight answers. Oh yes, the famous MLSE media training that kept Brian Burke and Ron Wilson from conflicts with local reporters or that prepared Jonathan Bernier to be asked about one of the 20th century's most famous political leaders. That's the ticket! Instead, he entirely reasonably assumes that he knows what is coming and that the reporter is looking for an angle. The same way that he made Dion Phaneuf's baseball cap an indictment of his leadership and his absence at a party as an opportunity to spread rumours about dressing room turmoil. Let's not pretend that Feschuk wasn't lining up another another variation on "The Leafs can't win because of Phil Kessel's character flaws" and Phil knew it too.
What I found interesting is that the clip goes on longer which can you see below and he's not only lashing out because of how he's treated but the disrespect towards his teammates that he sees from Feschuk:
Feschuk: It's not me saying this stuff!
Kessel: how many bad articles have you had? i don't see any of these other guys disrespecting the players like you are
Feschuk: can I talk to you for one second
Kessel: I've never seen someone disrespect the players in this organization, not me, just in general.
Set aside for a moment how pathetic it is for Feschuk to chase after Phil pleading for forgiveness - "it weren't me! honest! some bad man said it!" - before going onto other media appearances where he said flat out that Kessel is the reason for Carlyle's firing. Below is the front cover of the Toronto Sun today which labels three of the Leafs "The Uncoachables".
If this incident happened in another city with a player that was most media-friendly, this story might have been written up by someone as Phil Kessel being a leader and standing up for the shoddy treatment that his teammates face. Instead, it'll bring out the crony apologists in the media - why won't he answer a simple question dammit?! and why are all you bloggers so gosh darn mean to reporters? Oh, we made a newspaper cover that questions their professionalism, their integrity, and their character? Well, that is nothing at all like when we cried about how mean Tyler Dellow was to us!
That's why they don't talk to you. Somehow, the media in this town have largely divorced themselves from a reality where using particular words calls upon specific connotations. As if they had entirely benign meanings. It's insane but the net result is that the idiot fans that follow these dimwits for their Leafs fix think that having one of the top 10 offensive talents of his generation is somehow a problem for the Leafs and who will once again go along with the carving up Kessel's character. Gee, I wonder why he snapped. What the fuck is wrong with him?