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Video: This Ryan Reaves prank scared the you-know-what out of Phil Kessel

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If he wasn’t before, Phil Kessel may now have a fear of clowns after a frighteningly funny prank courtesy teammate Ryan Reaves.

Reaves posted the video to his personal Twitter account on Friday, one day before the Penguins take on the Wild to start a five-game road trip.

We’ve seen over the years pranks between teammates while on the road. But this . . . I mean, the look on Kessel’s face as he opened the door to the hotel room . . .

The Penguins acquired Reaves from the St. Louis Blues ahead of the 2017 NHL Draft. Known for his size and toughness, he has appeared in 11 games for his new team, scoring once with two points and 47 penalty minutes.

It certainly didn’t take long for him to become a fan favourite in Pittsburgh, but this prank may take that popularity to new heights.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

Owen Tippett thinks he has ‘the upside of Phil Kessel’

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When it’s time for the NHL Draft, you’ll see people compare unproven prospects to very-much-proven stars. As usual as those comparisons can be as shorthand, they can often come across as comical.

It’s a lot more fun when the prospect makes the comparison for you.

In discussing his chances of making the immediate jump from being the 10th pick of this past draft by the Florida Panthers, Owen Tippett evoked the name Phil Kessel, as Sportsnet’s Luke Fox reported about a week ago.

“I have the upside of Phil Kessel—the speed, the shot, the way he can make plays. I also have some things I need to work on to be a 200-foot player,” Tippett said.

Ah, the 200-foot player talk. That might stand as the most interesting part of Fox’s piece, as it seems like a lot of effort was made to explain why a player would want to emulate Kessel, a prolific scorer and repeat Stanley Cup champion.

“Phil Kessel is a two-time Stanley Cup winner. Guy’s scoring 30-plus goals a year. Pretty good guy to want to play like,” Trainer Mike Nichol said. “People are quick to look at the fitness issue. Well, I’ve had Phil Kessel here in this gym. He’s unbelievably strong. For a hockey player, he’s world-class strong. Super powerful guy.”

It’s a “laser beam” shot that first links Tippett and Kessel, as observers believe that the would-be Panthers rookie can really pick the corners.

If nothing else, this is a reminder of another remarkable thing about Kessel: how quickly he became an NHL contributor. Kessel went from being the fifth pick of the 2006 NHL Draft to playing in the 2006-07 season, scoring 11 goals and 29 points in 70 games. He almost scored 20 goals the next season and then generated 36 goals and 60 points in 2008-09.

(He also survived testicular cancer in 2006.)

Can Tippett really manage that jump, even a more modest version of it? Well, the Panthers seem like they’re opening the door wide open for Tippett to do so. As a reminder, Panthers GM Dale Tallon said back in July:

“He’s going to get every opportunity,” Tallon said. “I don’t have any problem and [coach Bob Boughner] and our coaching staff don’t have any issues playing young guys. We’re building a team that’s going to be around for a long time and we’ll give him every opportunity to play this year.”

So, it sounds like Tippett will get his chance to reach that Kessel potential next season.

Phil Kessel hot dogs it during second day with Stanley Cup

via Kessel's Instagram page
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It’s been a nice couple days in eyeing how people are celebrating with the Stanley Cup, as we go from furry dogs to hot dogs.

Certain media types will always take their jabs at Phil Kessel. If he were like Patrick Roy, Kessel might respond that he couldn’t hear such criticisms, what with his Stanley Cup rings plugging his ears.

Why do that when you can celebrate with hot dogs, though?

During his second day with the Stanley Cup as a repeat champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins (his critics are grating their teeth at that one, guaranteed), Kessel is having a great time, including this cheeky celebration via his Instagram:

A post shared by Phil Kessel (@phil_kessel_81_) on

It actually seems to be the second shot, as a blurrier photo included this caption:

Hotdogs taste better out of The Cup! #twotime #statestreetbrats

Nice. Delightfully, Joffrey Lupul responded with the same kind of glee most of us experienced.

Kessel also appears to take a page from Sidney Crosby with a little Stanley Cup spooning:

We’re really not worthy. (Alt response: “Now, who would trade this guy?”)

Credit Kessel with having a laugh at his critics during his second run. During his first one in 2016, he brought the Stanley Cup to a children’s hospital in Toronto, as NHL.com noted.

So, yeah, when it comes to his critics and/or the people who left him off international teams, but he still has his heart in the right place.

You could even say he has his hot dog and eats it too. (Wait, don’t.)

Penguins GM Rutherford doesn’t expect to trade Phil Kessel

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Earlier this week, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook wrote about the possibility of the Penguins eventually trading Phil Kessel.

The column raised some eyebrows because, after all, the Penguins have won back-to-back Stanley Cups, and Kessel has been a big contributor during both championship runs.

On Thursday, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford was asked about the possibility of trading his all-star winger, and he didn’t sound too convinced about the possibility of moving him.

Phil Kessel‘s an important part of the Penguins,” Rutherford said in a radio interview with 93.7 The Fan, per the Pittsburgh Tribune. “He gets a lot of points. He scores big goals. He sets up big goals. The more impact players that you have, like we have, the better chance you have of winning.

“He’s an important part. I don’t want to sit here and say that a certain player’s not going to get traded at some point in his career. I mean, Phil already did. But that’s not something that I foresee happening right now.”

Obviously, no one expected Rutherford to come out and admit he’d be willing to trade the 29-year-old away, but he didn’t really dodge the question either.

If the team wants to trade him away, they have plenty of time to do so, as Kessel has five years left on his contract at a cap hit of $6.8 million, which might be a steal given the amount of money star players have signed for this off-season.

Phil Kessel came to the rescue after Nick Bonino’s truck broke down

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Did that car break down? Need a lift? Who should you call?

Well, if you’re Nick Bonino, it’s apparently best to call teammate Phil Kessel.

According to numerous reports, the story goes that while driving to PPG Paints Arena for Game 5 against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, Bonino’s truck broke down. No worries. Kessel reportedly came to the rescue with a roadside assist, picking Bonino up and getting him to the arena on time.

“It was weird. All of a sudden the gas didn’t work and the power steering went out in the middle of the highway. I was able to get it to the side,” Bonino told reporters.

“Great teammate Phil Kessel came and picked me up. I owe a lot to Phil tonight for being here, a great guy.”

The camaraderie of the vaunted HBK Line from a year ago still runs strong.

Bonino had a pair of assists and Kessel had a goal and an assist, as the Penguins dismantled the Senators 7-0 to take a 3-2 series lead, pushing Pittsburgh within one victory of reaching the Stanley Cup Final.