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It's tough to feel too much sympathy for Kessel and Phaneuf over media treatment

Come for a walk with me here:

Let’s just say I had a one-year contract with theScore, hypothetically. On the first day of that contract, I walked in the front door and got punched in the mouth. They paid me well, I was good at my job, but man, it just kept happening. Day in, day out, I got punched in the mush every morning.

At the end of my contract, my boss says to me, “We’d like to sign you to eight more years. Everything will be exactly the same the whole time. Good gig, good pay, mouth punches.”

I think I’d be like, “Y’know what, man, as great as everything else is, I just really hate getting punched in the mouth every day. I think I’ll look for a new employer.” The alternative would be to sign the long deal, and complain about getting punched in the mouth. But that kinda seems like a dumb plan; at some point, this is on me.

Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel have every right to be pissed off at the media in Toronto (you can read more here on today’s latest little flare-up) which they both make no bones about hating. That TSN aired a racy tweet about Lupul, ahem, getting to know Phaneuf’s wife wasn’t OK. Having to read about what a locker-room cancer you are every day has to be draining. And worst of all, by all accounts Kessel is widely liked by his teammates and Phaneuf is a good dude once you get to know him.

So yes. I get their frustration.

It just seems to me that the Toronto media is no worse or larger or more predatory than it was in previous years.

Not everyone understands the emotional drain that is constantly fighting off rumors and watching your tongue to ensure you don’t say anything interesting for fear of what it’ll become. Not everyone understands how loathsome it can be answering endless questions about your performance in 20 minutes of ice time in a game heavily influenced by luck. Not everyone believes it’s a reason to avoid playing for the Leafs.

But Phil and Dion understood all those things better than anyone when they signed nearly career-length extensions to stay in a place where they get figuratively punched in the mouth every morning. When you make the decision to stay in certain conditions, you don’t lose the right to complain, but people are justified in rolling their eyes and not offering a whole ton of pity.

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