Phil Kessel Breaks NHL Record for Consecutive Games Played, Raises Goalie of the Year
It appears Philly fans are already celebrating for Phil Kessel as a great player and the only person in the entire hockey world to win both the Calder Trophy and the NHL MVP. He also has one of the best-dressed man commercials in the entire league. And he recently was named the winner of the league’s most valuable player award. The Philadelphia hockey fan base is in full on celebration mode.
But I’m not sure how anyone on the outside of the Philadelphia sports/hockey world can truly see Kessel’s award. Kessel was a very average player for the Red Wings for the majority of his tenure. He was never a scorer. He was never a top-6 player. He rarely played with top players. He was constantly battling his way out of the lineup. He was constantly fighting through injuries. It was an era in which the Red Wings were built around the player with the best skill set. There was always a player on the team. No matter what, that player was always winning and playing up to his potential.
When Kessel did play with a high quality player, he was basically a replacement for that player. In the last five-plus years of his tenure with the Red Wings, he never played with a Norris and was replaced in the lineup by a Norris. When Kessel played with a Norris, he never came close being a Norris winner. He was not good enough to compete on the same level with the likes. The only person he could really compare himself to was Nicklas Lidstrom, and even then, Lidstrom was not as good.
At the start of the 2009-2010 season, Kessel finally had a chance to play with one of the best players in the entire league, Chris Osgood. And he blew it. He didn’t seem to be a good match for the other players on the ice with a high character. At one point, he put a really unnecessary elbow to Lidstrom’s face that required two medical staffers to attend to. Lidstrom is the one who brought Kessel into the league and he was the one who groom