Phil Kessel; Mike Komisarek

Today marks fifth anniversary of Phil Kessel beating cancer


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

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. (

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.)