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Leafs, Kessel: Hoping To Continue Roll

by Matt Iaboni / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs had a very successful October posting a 7-3-1 record and having the Player of the Month in Phil Kessel. They don’t expect anything less in November.

“That is our plan to match it and even be better,” Ron Wilson said. “Our goal everyday is to get better at every aspect of the game and keep marching forward.”

Kessel had his best career month in October leading the league in goals (10), points (18) and he was tied for first in game winning goals (three).

When he met with the media Tuesday, Kessel was quite modest.

“I couldn’t do it without my linemates,” he said. “Without them I can’t score goals and they give me great passes.”
Tim Connolly, who was brought in to centre Kessel, can only marvel at the things that his winger can do like his winning goal against Pittsburgh last Saturday.

“I certainly wouldn’t have scored on that but he said it was an easy shot,” Connolly said. “I don’t think it’s easy for the rest of us.”

Connolly has only been on a line with Kessel for three games but he knows what makes him such a tough player to stop.

“He has a quick release and he can put it right where he wants to,” Connolly said.

While Kessel’s offensive game has been quite evident, Wilson is pleased with his overall game which is something that is still evolving.

“He is doing things that I haven’t seen him do before like play hard in our zone, get pucks out, get hit hard on the forcheck so I guess I should say I expect him to play the same way in November,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the main thing that he is looking for from Kessel:

“I’m just looking for consistency from him.”

With the month of November now here it is also time for the annual Movember campaign. This year five Maple Leafs, Mike Brown, Jonas Gustavsson, Cody Franson, Colton Orr and Ben Scrivens will be growing a moustache to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer. Wilson posted on his Twitter account that he is planning to also grow a moustache for Movember and he is encouraging his assistant coaches to do the same.

Earlier this season Brown took off his famous handlebar moustache knowing he needed to start fresh Tuesday.

“I shaved it off knowing I was going to grow it back for Movember,” he said. “It’s for a good cause and we will see what happens when the month is over.”

While Brown doesn’t know anyone that has been affected by prostate cancer, he was more than happy to take part in this worthwhile cause.

“It’s easy to do your part to raise awareness and money for charity,” he noted. “It’s something that you can’t pass up. It doesn’t hurt for you to grow a moustache.”

Notes: James Reimer took part in the full practice Tuesday but Wilson said his status remains up in the air: “We will see how he responds and feels. He feels fine today up to this point” … Wilson didn’t say who would start in net in New Jersey Wednesday … Colby Armstrong continues to recover from a left ankle sprain and is at least five to seven weeks away from a return. Following practice, the Leafs announced recalled Joey Crabb and assigned Matt Frattin to the Toronto Marlies.

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