Phil Kessel still contributing to Knights despite scratches

The former NHL iron man can get his name on the Cup for a 3rd time.



Vegas Golden Knights forward Phil Kessel is a seasoned veteran, to put it lightly. Prior to this year's postseason, he hadn't missed a single regular season or playoff game for any of the teams that he's suited up for since November of 2009, and that includes runs with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes, and now with Vegas; he began his career with the Boston Bruins. 

Unfortunately for Kessel, that streak came to an end earlier this postseason against the Winnipeg Jets, and he's not suited up since despite the fact that his teammates have the chance to clinch the Stanley Cup for the first time on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena.

The good news for Kessel, who won back to back Stanley Cup championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017, is that he's qualified to get his name on the hallowed trophy should Vegas ultimately take care of business in Game 5. But since he's not playing, what's he been up to? 

According to teammate Jonathan Marchessault, Kessel is a "character". 

“Yeah, it’s huge. I mean, a big part of the team chemistry this year. He’s been great to hang out with,” Marchessault says.

“You need a lot of character on your team. But you need a lot of characters — and he's definitely one of them. And definitely I enjoy every second being with him for sure. The way he speaks, it’s remarkable.”

For captain Mark Stone, Kessel is one of the most enjoyable teammates he's ever had the pleasure of being around. 

“He brings a funny element of happiness and crankiness," Stone said. "By he just gels in really well with this group."

“He’s probably one of, if not the most, likable teammate I've ever played with. Brings a smile to your face when you come into the rink every day… You can count on him bringing good vibes to the dressing room, and he's been one of my favourite teammates I've ever played with. Plays every night, right? He's always there.”

Is there any kind of chance that Kessel could end up playing in the Final? Likely not, barring injury.

“I don't want to speculate how he gets in," head coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Hopefully there isn't injuries, but that's usually one way. And performance is the other. So far, we've stayed away from injuries and our performance was pretty good.”

Source: Sportsnet