Tyler Seguin

Yup, Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel are going to be linemates

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Seeing Phil Kessel drafted on to Zdeno Chara’s team for the All-Star Game opened up the possibility of seeing a lot of fan-tweaking possibilities. After all, seeing Maple Leafs and Bruins teamed up together means rivals having to play nicely. In the case of Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel, the possibility of seeing them as linemates was sky high.

As it turns out, that’s just what we’re going to see because Claude Julien is a nice guy like that. Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com tells us about how the Phil Kessel trade gets to be in the spotlight for one more day and it’s all because Tyler Seguin was hoping it could happen.

So Claude Julien apparently heard Seguin’s request, liked it, and will go with the forward combination suggestion in Sunday’s game. After taking part in the shooting accuracy competition and shootout elimination on Saturday evening, Seguin confirmed he’ll be centering a line with Maple Leafs Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.

Seguin playing center to two Maple Leafs is a fun way for Julien to help troll the Leafs fan base at a game that’s as competitive as a coin flip. Julien says that the All-Star Game offers him the opportunity to take it easy as a coach and put guys together that wanted to play on the same line. That might not stop Bruins and Leafs fans from busting each other’s chops for a day though.

Best 10 NHL moments of the year: Phil Kessel, Mr. Irrelevant

phil kessel drafgt
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Merry Christmas, everyone. Since we can’t buy all our readers an iPad2, we’ve put together a list of the best 10 NHL moments of the past year that we’ll be rolling out on the site all day long.

Phil Kessel, Mr. Irrelevant

In an effort to spice up the 2011 All-Star Game, the NHL opted for a “fantasy” draft — a fantasy that turned into Phil Kessel’s nightmare. There he sat, awkwardly, as 35 players were selected ahead of him.

So, why is this on our “best moments” list?

For one, Kessel handled the ignominy like a champ.

“I don’t care one bit at all,” he said after the draft. “When I was a kid, I would never have dreamed of being here. Hopefully the fans in Toronto are happy to see me in the game. I’ll play well in the game for them.”

Two, he’s been on fire ever since. Kessel scored 30 points in 33 games following last year’s ASG and this season, he’s the NHL’s second-leading scorer with 41 points through 35 games.

Not bad for Mr. Irrelevant, huh?

Today marks fifth anniversary of Phil Kessel beating cancer

Phil Kessel; Mike Komisarek
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For whatever reason, Phil Kessel has been a divisive figure in the NHL when he should instead be a source of inspiration.

Just look at his rookie year: character issues were sited as he dropped a bit in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, but that hurdle didn’t compare to what happened about a month into that 2006-07 season. Kessel was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November 2006, yet he only took about two weeks to return from the surgery that resulted.

Today marks the five-year anniversary of Kessel being cancer-free, as TSN’s Katherine Dolan covers in this video.

Kessel already has an assist on a Joffrey Lupul goal, pushing his points total to an astounding 37. Obviously, that battle with a scary disease is far behind him, but it makes his amazing season that much more impressive.

Pass Phil Kessel in the points race at your own peril

Phil Kessel
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Little did you know that the injuries sweeping through the NHL’s top scorers all have one thing in common: Phil Kessel.

Michael Finewax, one of our friends from Rotoworld, points out that anyone who has dared to pass Kessel in points or goals have all suffered for their insolence.

Claude Giroux passed Kessel in points and eight days later was knocked out indefinitely with a concussion. Milan Michalek passed Kessel in the goal scoring race with his 19th goal of the year and was later knocked out in that game with a concussion. Even Daniel Sedin wasn’t spared as he tied Kessel in points before coming up with back spasms.

Even Sidney Crosby wasn’t spared after the hot start he had in his comeback. Et tu, Phil?

If you’ve got any good “NHL-loves-Toronto” theories, now is the time to throw on the tinfoil hat and run with them because this Kessel plague cannot be stopped. Someone had better get James Neal, Jonathan Toews, and Steve Stamkos to a safe house, pronto.

PHT’s Morning Skate: Phil Kessel’s impressive journey

Phil Kessel

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.

Patrick Kane’s return to right wing might have been the biggest story going into Friday night’s game against the New York Islanders, and he seemed comfortable for sure with two assists. Still, his running mate Jonathan Toews stole the show, with a goal and an assist plus a shootout tally. (CSN Chicago.)

Former Avs blue chips Chris Stewart (one assist) and Kevin Shattenkirk (power-play goal) drew a measure of revenge against their former team, but Colorado won – thanks in large part to Ryan O’Reilly. (Denver Post.)

Sure, the Blues failed in the shootout, but that game would’ve been finished in overtime if Jaroslav Halak didn’t make this deft swipe:

One thought that keeps recurring lately is how people don’t seem to appreciate all that Phil Kessel has gone through to become a league-leading scorer. Lukas Hardonk takes a look at his journey from testicular cancer to red-hot sniper. (The Hockey Writers.)

Brad Richards is enjoying single life in New York, which must have something to do with Olivia Munn, right? (Tampa Bay Online.)

Matt Beleskey’s hit on Sean Couturier might just draw the attention of the Shanahammer, but we’ll see. (Eric Stephens.)

Ryan Jones didn’t just register his first multiple goal game last night; he actually pulled off a hat trick. (NHL.com.)

Jones wasn’t the only unlikely guy to score one more than once in that Edmonton Oilers-Columbus Blue Jackets game, though. Derek Dorsett managed two tallies of his one, including this highlight reel piece.

Check out the NHL’s three stars of comedy via Sean McIndoe of “Down Goes Brown.” (Grantland.)

Final thought: if there’s one thing that is driving me nuts, it’s the confusion over the Detroit Red Wings’ streaky play. It’s not a coincidence. Instead, it’s a matter of their schedule. They’re winning when they’re at home (10-2-1) and average on the road (6-5-0). The few diverging points come when they play weak opponents away from Joe Louis Arena, although winning the Thanksgiving Showdown in Boston ranks as a promising break from that trend. (Red Wings schedule.)