'I have to work harder': Kessel

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Phil Kessel is mad at himself, not his coach.

In his first comments since Ron Wilson ripped him in front of the team and the Toronto media on Thursday, the Leafs struggling scorer more or less said he was expecting to get blasted at some point, though not in such a public fashion.

"I'm not playing my best hockey and I have to be better," Kessel said last night after a late-game chance was tipped wide by Buffalo's Tim Connolly. "I have to work harder."

Kessel ended the 3-2 night with 21:49 of ice time, and eight shots, five of them in the final period. He has one goal in 11 games and no assists in 13.

"I thought we competed well," Kessel said. "We have to bear down and things will start coming."

Wilson tried Kessel on a few different lines.

"You're hoping the break goes our way at the end, but Connolly made a nice play and there's nothing you can do about it," Wilson said


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