Maple Leafs' Phil Kessel must pick up his defence

Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle during a drill with forward Phil Kessel during training camp...

Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle during a drill with forward Phil Kessel during training camp at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, Ont., Jan. 13, 2013. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 PM ET

TORONTO - Randy Carlyle needs Phil Kessel to buy in.

It’s as simple as that.

Carlyle, in his first training camp as the head coach of the Maple Leafs, has picked up the message where he left it last spring, when he was coach for 18 games after the firing of Ron Wilson.

Be defensively responsible and you will stay out of the dog house.

And Kessel, as the most offensively talented forward on a team that is not chock full of them, must heed those words.

When your best players lead by example, it’s usually the case that others will fall into line.

“It’s no different than when I dealt with Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf (when he was coaching the Anaheim Ducks),” Carlyle said.

“They are elite-level players, and when it is his turn to be first on the backcheck, he better be first. If it is his turn to be first on the forecheck, he better be first.

 


Videos

Photos