Clear issue emerges in Phil Kessel’s push for NHL comeback in Vancouver!

Uh oh…



When the Vancouver Canucks announced on Tuesday that veteran free agent forward Phil Kessel will work out with the team’s AHL affiliate club in Abbotsford, British Columbia this week, fans were hyped to know that he could make his NHL comeback with a contender.

On Wednesday, Kessel was already with the Canucks’ farm club, skating and training as many insiders and pundits posted images and footage of his first steps in attempting to get a contract in Vancouver.

Then, some started to look more closely and reporter Bill Miljure of CTV News quickly pointed out a clear issue with Kessel attempting to make an NHL comeback in Vancouver. He is not looking ready to go as Miljure revealed that Kessel was “looking absolutely gassed at times during his first skate with the Abbotsford Canucks.”

“A conditioning stint is clearly warranted for the 36-year-old if he’s going to play in the NHL this year,” he added.

Kessel hasn’t played since taking part in all 82 games with the Vegas Golden Knights last season, put up 14 goals and 22 assists. He is still passionate and adamant that he can contribute, though he will need to put his words into actions during the conditioning stint.

When asked the possibility of seeing his former player back in his lineup, Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet specified that Kessel was just in the “first phase” of skating and that there’s still some time before he potentially signs in Vancouver.

Selected fifth overall by the Boston Bruins in 2006, Kessel has played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes and Golden Knights, recording 413 goals and 579 assists over 1,286 games. He would love to add more NHL games to his resume and possibly a fourth championship before he hangs up the skates.

But for now, Kessel better lace them up and get his conditioning back on track in order to impress the Canucks’ organization and get a contract before March 8.

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