WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 8:  (AFP OUT) Television personality Stephen Colbert during a taping of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" with U.S. President Barack Obama in Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University on December 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. This is President Obama's third appearance on "The Colbert Report" that will broadcast its final show on Dec. 18. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
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Quick hits: Why Phil Kessel skipped a Stephen Colbert appearance

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Let’s gather a few smaller stories to save some time, shall we?

Nick Bonino apparently informed the Pardon My Take podcast that “The HBK Line” was supposed to appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The show sent a jet that can accommodate eight people, and Kessel wasn’t comfortable getting on a plane that small.

Rather than fussing with Carl Hagelin and Bonino about it, Kessel “just went to sleep and that was it.”

Splendid. We might need a Kessel reality show, which the sniper would probably detest.

  • In less amusing news, the Florida Panthers re-signed Connor Brickley.

This is what the one-year, two-way deal looks like:

  • Finally, the Edmonton Oilers re-signed Tyler Pitlick for one year.

Injuries have really stalled his career, so this could be an important “prove it” contract.

(Hopefully most of us hold safer jobs.)

John Scott wants to make his own World Cup team with Phil Kessel

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPT 22:  Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs slashes at John Scott #32 of the Buffalo Sabres in a pre-season game on Sept 22, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Sabres 5-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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The 2016 All-Star game MVP is interested in making his own World Cup team with the top forward from the 2014 Olympics. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

John Scott took to Instagram to announce that he wanted to join forces with his buddy Phil Kessel. The post was accompanied by a picture of Scott going after Kessel, after this stick-swinging incident from a few years back.

The team doesn’t have a name (Scott says he’s open to suggestions) or any other players, but Scott knows what kind of guys he’s looking for.

“We are looking for guys who want to compete and may have been overlooked in hockey,” said Scott in the post.

Here’s the full post:

This sounds like a really good idea.

Video: Phil Kessel displays incredible hand-eye coordination on goal

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This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.

The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

(Watch that goal in the video above.)

It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.

Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.

Update: Here’s the goal Kessel accidentally “scored” for the Lightning:

Ouch.

Video: Phil Kessel steals the show for Penguins

Phil Kessel has always put up solid numbers in his NHL career, but that hasn’t necessarily endeared him to the fans of the teams he’s played for.

In Toronto, Kessel found the back of the net 30, 32, 37, 20 (lockout year), 37 and 25 times in six seasons. You’d think that those numbers would be good enough to keep fans and the media off his back. But it didn’t.

“For some reason, lots of people don’t like Phil Kessel,” Pens GM Jim Rutherford said, per USA Today. “He was the best player Toronto had for eight years. Year in and year out and he got the blame for everything, which was unfair. He’s a very talented player. We all know he can score. But he’s a playmaker as well. He can pass the puck as well as just about anybody in this league.”

Last summer, the Leafs and Kessel finally parted ways, as Toronto sent him packing for Pittsburgh. The 28-year-old didn’t post career numbers in 2015-16, but something seems to have clicked in the playoffs. Now that Kessel isn’t the number one offensive threat on his team anymore, he’s been able to avoid the more difficult matchups in the postseason and it’s led to better production.

The Pens winger has seven goals and 16 points in 14 games in the 2016 playoffs. No player on the Penguins roster has more goals or points than Kessel so far this spring.

PHT Morning Skate: Letang takes shot at Maple Leafs for not paying tribute to Phil Kessel on Saturday

Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Kris Letang took a shot at the Maple Leafs on his personal Twitter account because they didn’t pay tribute to Phil Kessel before Saturday night’s game in Toronto.

Flyers equipment manager Derek Settlemyre decided to prank some of the team’s players and coaches by having them open a cooler with a toy snake in it. (Bardown)

Buffalo News columnist Bucky Gleason wrote about the new three-on-three overtime format and how it’s turning the game into “a circus act”. (Buffalo News)

ESPN’s Scott Powers takes a behind-the-scenes look into the family life of journeyman goaltender Michael Leighton. (ESPN)

Sportlogiq’s Andrew Berkshire examines Sidney Crosby’s slow start to the season. (Sportsnet)

Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski came up with two ways the NHL could improve the coach’s challenge. (Puck Daddy)