Phil Kessel may be enjoying a more relaxed environment with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but back in Toronto, highly touted prospect Kasperi Kapanen is already starting to feel the heat.
Kapanen, who was the centrepiece coming back to the Leafs in a blockbuster deal that sent Kessel to the Penguins on July 1, is already drawing comparisons to the five-time 30-goal scorer.
“I don’t really care,” the Finnish winger told the Toronto Sun. “It’s one trade amongst others. It happened that I am in a trade with (Kessel). You can’t compare us we are two separate players but it’s always going to be like that.”
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Kapanen, the son of former NHLer Sami Kapanen, is among 16 forwards that will compete in the team’s annual rookie tournament at the Budweiser Gardens this weekend in London, Ont.
The Toronto media could never let the Phil Kessel-Tyler Seguin saga die until No. 81 was officially out of a Leafs uniform. Kapanen is still a few years away from being a regular in the Leafs lineup. Until then, he’ll more than likely have to deal with many more Kessel questions.
“It’s sport and it’s a burden I have right now,” Kapenen added.
Meanwhile, back in the Steel City, a more composed Kessel met with media after a team skate on Thursday and admitted he’s already getting adjusted to a more laid-back environment in Pittsburgh.
“I think it’s a more relaxed environment than Toronto,” he told reporters. “I think obviously the media’s a little less here but like I said I expect to do well here and I expect our team to do well so I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s a whirlwind but I’m getting settled and getting ready,” Kessel said. “I’ve got a place here and I’m real excited for the start of the season.”