Arizona Coyotes forward Phil Kessel has always been something of an enigmatic or misunderstood character in the National Hockey League and to be perfectly blunt a lot of it is his own fault. To say that Kessel is something of a unique personality would be an understatement, but by doing things at the beat of his own drum throughout his NHL career he has earned the respect and admiration of many fans from around the league.
As a result of his unique personality Kessel has become a beloved figure around the league thanks in large part to a combination of his success with the Pittsburgh Penguins and thanks to some of the hilarious stories about him that have made their way into the public domain. I am happy to report that another such story has gone public and this time it comes courtesy of Canadian poker legend Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu. Negreanu, who now resides in Las Vegas, is a huge fan of the NHL and particularly his hometown team the Golden Knights will often come into contact with NHL pros at the poker table due to his status in that game. Players like the aforementioned Phil Kessel.
During a recent appearance on SiriusXM NHL radio Negreanu was asked about the league's players and their behavior at the poker tables, with the questions eventually getting around to asking the poker pro's opinion on which player is the best. Instead of answering the question directly, Negreanu went into a hilarious anecdote about Kessel at the poker tables.
"It's funny because Phil Kessel will be really upset if I say not him, but he likes to play this game called Pot Limit Omaha but I don't know how good he is," said Negreanu with a chuckle. " But of all the professional hockey players I think he is the one that would want to be a pro most."
Unfortunately it sounds like Kid Poker does not have a great deal of respect for the talents that Phil actually brings to the table. In fact he used a rather comical quote, one we've all heard before, to sum up Kessel's talents in poker.
"A lot of them they play for fun on the plane, but some of them they take it seriously. I know Phil Kessel, if it was up to him, he would be a professional player but the problem is he just not... what does he say? 'Loves the game, nice guy, tries hard,'" said Negreanu while audibly laughing. "Just doesn't quite have the chops to make it."
Maybe you'll get to be a poker pro in the next life Phil.