Sports Illustrated seems to be taking shots at the Toronto Maple Leafs but it is actually NHL players. On the heels of an S.I. poll that said Dion Phaneuf is the league's most overrated comes one that hacks at Phil Kessel.
The magazine released the results of a poll on Feb. 15, 2012 that says the Leaf is the 'all-star caliber player' who is most easily intimidated. Of the 145 players who answered the mags poll, 15 percent picked Kessel.
Second were the Sedin brothers of the Vancouver Canucks, together Henrik and Daniel got 8 percent of the vote, while Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals got 7 and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils each polled 3 percent.
Sports Illustrated poll angers Maple Leaf fans
Sports Illustrated regularly conducts player polls but just don't seem to wind up with Maple Leaf players at or near the top of them. Considering how well Kessel is doing this season, and how well the Leafs are compared to past seasons, many Maple Leaf fans are not happy with the result of this latest poll.
"Let's see...he is one of the scoring leaders this year, on track for his best year in TO...a solid 2-way player (backchecks hard now), goes into corners with big D-men, and he's the most easily intimidated?" wrote fan 'Leafsnriders' on a TSN comment board. "He gets hit hard every night, and yet he still goes into corners, and is one of the points leaders."
Maple Leafs franchise, coach hacked at
Besides this poll and the one last month where players said Phaneuf was the league's most overrated, there have been other recent polls that were not complimentary to the Maple Leafs. An ESPN Ultimate Team Rankings poll last summer had the franchise ranked 120th out of 122 professional sports franchises when it came to giving fans their moneys worth.
At this time last year a CBC Hockey Night in Canada/NHLPA poll had Leafs coach Ron Wilson at the top of the list of coaches in the NHL players would least like to play for. Not surprisingly, Brian Burke fired back at each of these polls so look for a response to the Kessel poll from the Maple Leafs GM.