The Phil Kessel trade will be evaluated for far too many years and angles, but now that the Bruins have a player in uniform from the swap, at least there is something to compare.
With Bruins forward Tyler Seguin just seven games into his NHL career, however, the Leafs feel they still have the current edge, especially with Kessel’s hot start.
“Well Phil Kessel’s got seven goals, Tyler’s got what, one?,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said prior to Thursday’s game.
“That’s a trade you talk about five years from now when Tyler Seguin is a full-time NHL player. I don’t think Tyler right now today is anywhere near as good as Phil.
“Phil scored 30 goals last year he’s probably going to score 40 or 50 goals this year. We’re happy with what we have right now for sure.”
As for Seguin, he was thrilled to get his first shot at facing his hometown team on Thursday and responded with his second goal of the season.
IS KESSEL MR. CLUTCH?
Boston forward Shawn Thornton came the closest of any Bruin to dump on his former teammate Kessel this week, suggesting that many of his goals come at less-than-crucial times.
“He can score 40 a year but I don’t know if (they were) at the most opportune times when he was here, though,” Thornton told Boston’s Comcast network. “He might even score 50 but he didn’t want to be here, so see ya.
“I like Phil on a personal level. I just hope his success is not against us.”
VERSTEEG BACKS OUT
Leafs forward Kris Versteeg was a scratch Thursday due to a bad back. The high-profile acquisition this summer missed practice on Wednesday and briefly hit the ice for the gameday skate before pulling out.
Versteeg has been getting treatment on the undisclosed back problem since early in the week and made the trip to Boston figuring he would get a chance to play.
In his place, John Mitchell got his second start of the season, taking Versteeg’s place on a line with Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski.
Luca Caputi, meanwhile, made his first start since being called up from the Marlies to replace injured forward Colby Armstrong.
“They tell you to go down and make sure you are the guy they are going to call up when the time comes and I just tried to do that,” said Caputi, who was on a line with Tim Brent and Fred Sjostrom.
On defence, Carl Gunnarsson was a healthy scratch as Brett Lebda was in the lineup.
NO DOUBTING THOMAS
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is off to a sizzling start, going 4-0-0 prior to Thursday’s game against the Leafs while leading the league in goals-against average (0.75) and save percentage (.978).
“I understand he was a little banged up last year and now he’s healthy and a little more confident,” Wilson said of Thomas. “He’s a tough goalie to have a game plan for becuase he’ll do anything to stop the puck. You can’t expect him to do anything conventional.”
Jonas Gustavsson got his third start of the season, a relatively easy call for Wilson. The Monster entered Thursday night with a career record of 2-0-1 against the Bruins with one shutout, a 1.60 goals against average and a save percentage of .940 ... The Bruins were 4-1-1 against the Leafs last season with three of the six games being decided either in overtime or by shootout ... The Bruins had won their previous five home games against the Leafs prior to Thursday night.