In an interview with TSN Radio, former Leafs coach Ron Wilson pointed the finger for the team's struggles not on fired bench boss Randy Carlyle but on players like Kessel.
“Some of the core players have failed under two or three coaches so it’s got to be the player’s fault,” said Wilson. “You’d have to surmise that some of them might be uncoachable."
Wilson was especially critical of Kessel, who he said was difficult to coach.
“You can’t rely on Phil,” said Wilson. “Phil’s problem, and I think it’s pretty much how Phil’s been his whole career, is that he is two weeks on and two weeks off."
Wilson also said Kessel's lack of consistency leads the forward to become emotional, and makes it hard for a coach to help him focus.
“When he’s not playing well, he’s a hard guy to get on board and get on your side. It’s just the way it is," said Wilson. "He comes and goes and he gets emotional. He lets that affect his game and his relationship with other players. That’s what you have to coach.”
Wilson was doubtful that the firing of Carlyle on Tuesday would make any difference for the Leafs in the long-run.
“You never change a leopard’s spots. You paint over some of those spots, but they’ll eventually shine through the paint and that’s just too bad," said Wilson.
Wilson coached the Leafs from 2008 to 2012 before Brian Burke replaced him with Carlyle.
Kessel calls reporter an 'idiot'
During a media scrum hours after the firing of Carlyle, Kessel was asked by a reporter if he was a difficult player to coach. The Leafs forward responded emotionally to the question, becoming upset with the reporter.
"I don't think so, that's a weird question for you to ask," said Kessel. "You think it's my fault? Is that what you're saying?"
Kessel left reporters with a final comment about the reporter who asked him the question.
"This guy's such an idiot here. He's always been like this," said Kessel.