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.
–These two Penguins fans had a baby on Mother’s Day and they decided to name their child after Phil Kessel. True Story. Kessel Ryan Hillman was born in Pennsylvania last weekend. “Sure enough they put me in bed no. 81.” (Yahoo)
–Ville Leino, who might just be one of the worst free-agent signings ever, came out with his own clothing line. One of his t-shirts is called “jail”. It’s in reference to his final season in Buffalo that saw him score zero goals in 58 games. I felt trapped and down. All I could do was get up every morning and go to work and try to make it work. This painting reflects those feelings that I was going through on that period of time.” (Buffalo News)
–Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is one of the finalists for the GM of the Year Award because of his ability to make key deals for his team. The Edmonton Journal breaks down the six major transactions that helped Chiarelli earn the nomination. (Edmonton Journal)
–The Ottawa Senators lit up the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final (who saw that coming?). You can check out the highlights by clicking the video at the top of the page.
—Yannick Weber sat down for an interesting Q&A for the NHLPA’s website. During this fun chat, Weber admits to having some Nickleback music on his playlist. On an unrelated note, he’s also a huge fan of Roger Federer. (NHLPA)
–There’s always some debate as to which sport has the toughest athletes. Well, former NFL offensive lineman Willie Colon believes hockey players are clearly tougher than football players. (NBC Sports)
–The New Jersey Devils own the number one pick in this June’s NHL Entry Draft, which means they’ll have to decide between selecting Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier. The Devils director of amateur scouting Paul Castron spoke to beat reporter Chris Ryan about how he evaluates the two prospects. “Both those kids, they’ve the go-to guys on their teams. They both get a lot of attention, but they don’t back down or shy away to make plays at crucial times in games.” (NJ.com)
Much was made of Phil Kessel‘s unfiltered rage during the second period of Game 2, and how it might have been directed at Evgeni Malkin.
For a while, it felt like his anger was symbolic of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ greater feelings, as they couldn’t seem to break through against the Ottawa Senators despite controlling virtually every aspect of about 20 minutes of game time.
Kessel might bark a lot, but he showed some bite in scoring the 1-0 goal. Check out that precious, rare tally in the video above.
How is this for a potential angle — Phil Kessel coming back to haunt the Toronto Maple Leafs, his former team, as they look to clinch a playoff spot in the final weekend of the regular season?
With a win versus the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, the Maple Leafs are in. They would lock up a post-season berth with a young and talented core led up front by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
Of course, the Penguins and Kessel have a chance to spoil the party.
Kessel, who played 446 regular season games for Toronto before being traded to Pittsburgh in a blockbuster — and ripped in the media — and was part of the Maple Leafs’ shocking playoff collapse in 2013, opened the scoring just 6:11 into the first period.
He deployed that terrific wrist shot past the blocker of Frederik Andersen, giving Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
Anxious Maple Leafs fans quickly rejoiced 29 seconds later, though, as James van Riemsdyk scored to tie the game, showing tremendous hand-eye coordination and a pretty good wrist shot of his own.
The play was reviewed for a possible offside, but the goal stood.
Phil Kessel has been one of the NHL’s best goal scorers for the majority of his career, but he doesn’t always get a lot of attention for his playmaking ability.
That was on display on display on Sunday afternoon against the Florida Panthers, and he needed to get a little creative to set up Patric Hornqvist for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first goal of the game.
With Kessel positioned behind the net, he quickly flipped the puck over the net to Hornqvist who was able to use his hand-eye coordination to bat the puck out of mid-air, beating James Reimer to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
It’s the type of play you can try a hundred times and are able to perfectly pull it off maybe once. This is about as perfect as it can get.
That assist for Kessel is his 41st of the season, giving him the team lead.