The subject is the current slump of Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel. But, to illustrate a point, Marcel Dionne draws on a memory from 25 years ago when a rookie centre on the Kings named Jimmy Carson was always hanging around his Los Angeles home.

"One day he was pouting. He's 18 years old, he's in the NHL and he's pouting. I said, 'What's the matter with you?' He said, 'I have no wingers,'" Dionne recalls.

"I said to him, 'Jimmy, who is the superstar on your line? They frickin' drafted you with a first-round pick. You've got to make those guys better. That's what your commitment is."

Carson scored 37 goals that season, 55 the next before being part of the package that brought Wayne Gretzky to L.A.

Dionne's premise is that we — as in those who are quick to say Kessel's offensive struggles arise because he has no linemates to complement his considerable skills — are looking at the Kessel conundrum backwards.