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Leafs back in action

Richard Lautens, Staff Photographer

Fall of course means that there is a hockey frenzy taking over the country.  Love it or hate it, hockey sells an awful lot of newspapers.

Last Saturday I was sent to cover the Leafs/Flyers game at the ACC.  It’s always fun to go to the games, particularly now with all of the fights breaking out.  There is a definite energy in the arena that was absent for the past few years.

The interesting part of the game for me came about an hour before the puck dropped.  I was sent  over early as the Leafs’ newest acquisition, Phil Kessel was going to be introduced to the Toronto media by GM Brian Burke.

There were perhaps 8 photographers, another 5 or 6 TV cameras and of course the 15 or so writers.  Burke comes out with Kessel, sits at a table and each mentions a few nice things about each other, about the Leafs and of course about Toronto.

After the speaching it is announced there will be a quick photo-op.  Burke presents Kessel with a Leafs jersey.   He struggles a bit but gets it over his head finally as all the cameras click and flash away.  Everyone feels awkward at this point as the whole situation is such a construct.

Finally after a few minutes things quiet down and the call goes out (I think I had something to do with it but it was all a blur frankly) for Kessl to turn around to show us the name on the back.  Then came the shout “Now look over your shoulder” – you have to picture it because that cry is shouted out on every red carpet at TIFF for young, cute actresses to show off the back of their gown.

Everyone starts laughing including Kessel.

I’m sure he is wondering just what he has got himself into.




 New Leaf Phil Kessel struggles to get his jersey on.




 Leafs GM applauds Kessel after the introduction.




 Kessel has a good laugh when asked to pose for the cameras.


Richard Lautens/Toronto Star


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