TORONTO - Maple Leafs assistant coach Steve Spott handled controversy about a disagreement with Phil Kessel by saying his comments about the star winger not wanting to follow a new play were "light-hearted."
After the Toronto Star reported Spott telling a coaches clinic about Kessel refusing to do breakouts the way Toronto staff wanted, it was naturally one of the major topics on the day players reported to take physicals.
Kessel denied aspects of the story, saying he doesn't talk about hockey during the summer.
Spott, who coached the AHL's Toronto Marlies last season before being promoted to join Randy Carlyle's staff, downplayed the situation but didn't refute the report.
It's Spott's job, he said, to talk to players and get to know them.
Carlyle, for his part, said there was a "double standard" in coaching that affords more leeway to star players, something Kessel agreed with.