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Kessel regains scoring lead, ‘tough to deal with’ on Olympic ice

Feb 19, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

USA forward Phil Kessel, right, reacts to his goal with teammate Ryan Kesler during the third period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

Phil Kessel has been one of the NHL’s best players for a few years now. Since the start of 2011-12, he’s ranked third in the league in goals and second in points — yet often fails to get the credit and recognition that level of sustained success typically comes with.

The Olympics are changing that.

Kessel was hot going into this tournament and with the world paying attention, his speed and scoring touch have been on full display. He netted his tournament-tying fifth goal against the Czech Republic today and regained the Olympic lead in points with his eighth in four contests. That has everyone is singing his praises, including American captain Zach Parise.

“Phil’s playing great,” Parise said, per IIHF.com. “He was on fire in the NHL before he came here and he’s continued that in this tournament.

“He’s pushing their ‘D’ out on this big ice and it’s tough to deal with him.”

On Friday, the United States will face a Canadian team that is loaded with stars at forward…which makes this stat all the more impressive.

For a guy that failed to produce much of anything for the Americans at the ’10 Olympics in Vancouver, that’s pretty good.

  1. titansbro - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    He better stay hot in the next game. This is the gold medal game right here.

    • enollatsknarf - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      It isn’t the gold medal game though. Four high quality teams are left.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:28 AM

        Respectfully disagree. Finns and Swedes are clearly very good. And they are missing key players. USA is totally healthy. Look at the goal differentials.

        Canada was CLEARLY better on paper. And it looks like they chose the best players in positions who could skate.

        USA chose good players for positions, who could skate, and also assembled a TEAM with specific roles in mind.

        I would not have thought to take T. J. Oshie, while a good player. But a good player willing to take on roles as needed and who is GREAT in shootouts is an example.

        I questioned a couple picks.

        And it really looks like they had some pretty good thinking.

  2. adagio4639 - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    I’m watching figure skating, since the hockey game isn’t being shown as yet, and is on a delayed basis. While watching, I see the score; US 2 Czech 1. Thank you for spoiling that for me. Finally the Canada game comes on, and I’m watching that, waiting for the US game, and the idiot announcing the game tells us that the US is leading in their game. Thanks again for the spoiler. Finally, in the last minute of the Canada game, I’m told that the US has won their game. Well…now I know the results of the game I wanted to see. At the end of the Canada game, the idiots at NBC decide to tell everyone what happened in the US game, and who scored and what the final score would be, and that the US would face Canada in the next round. So the US game is being shown at 5 PM, and I already know that they won, who scored, and everything I need to know, and now have no reason to even watch the game.

    NBC…YOU ARE FRIGGIN IDIOTS!!!!. WHY ON EARTH DID YOU SHOW THE CANADA GAME INSTEAD OF THE US GAME, AND THEN WRECK ANY REASON FOR WATCHING THE US GAME. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?? IDIOTS.

    • Idaslapter - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      I am not sure where you are but the game was shown live on USA network at 11:00. The figure skating was on NBCSN.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      Welcome to the internet age… you can watch any sport you want, whenever you want, online. Not too hard to find if you look.

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      Every game is also online.

    • pastabelly - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      Do you have a Guide button on your remote? Who is the friggin idiot now?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:32 AM

      Slight defense of adagio: With 2 games on at once, many were watching one and recording the other, so it would have been better if the announcers had perhaps warned viewers before saying the score so we could hit the Mute.

    • withseidelinn - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      Why were you watching figure skating?

  3. 19to77 - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    You know, it took him a while to get there, but I can’t help but look at Kessel’s performance in the last couple years and say the Leafs did well. Seguin is good, but the Bruins gave up on him so they aren’t reaping the benefits of that. In his place, Eriksson’s been hit-and-miss and the prospects are still prospects. As for the other Kessel pieces, Hamilton’s taking his time, but looks like he’ll be a solid NHLer soon enough. And Jared Knight is invisible in the AHL, let alone the big league. He’s not going to make it anytime soon.

    Meanwhile, Kessel’s cracked the 80-point mark, been well over a point-per-game player the last two years, led the Leafs in scoring each of the last FOUR years, and is nearly as productive in the Olympics so far as every Canadian forward put together. Phil Kessel is f**king ridiculous.

    So yeah. Toronto paid a lot, but they DID get a guy who’s turned into one of the best scorers in the world. Not bad.

    • dirtyback - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      preach son, preach!

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      As a Leaf fan, I’m glad Kessel’s going this good in this tournament. Nice to see him FINALLY getting the praise he deserves. He keeps getting better every year.

      I never really understood why so many people focused on the Kessel-Seguin deal either. The Raycroft-Rask trade was SOOO much worse for Toronto. Boston has a gem there.

      As for the Seguin-Eriksson deal, pretty sure Boston got Reilly Smith in that deal too, so it hasn’t been a total bust for Boston. I just wish Boston would have been honest about what the deal was, instead of throwing Seguin under the bus for no good reason. It was really just a salary dump. They had Bergeron and Rask to sign. As good as Seguin is, if you have to cut one of the three to make cap space, Seguin’s the odd man out.

      • tdrusher225 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:46 AM

        If the organization wanted to keep Seguin they would’ve made room for him, especially a player with such high end potential. That decision was based on long-term issues with where Seguin fit on the team. You don’t trade a #2 overall unless you’re really displeased with his play/development and, as a GM, you can’t pitch that trade to an owner calling it a “need for salary cap space” when that player was dubbed as the future of your franchise only a year ago.

    • pastabelly - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      Funny how you bring up Eriksson, but not Reilly Smith (who came over in the Seguin deal). Smith has 18 goals and is a +15. Also, the Bruins didn’t give up on Kessel. He didn’t want to be in Boston and that related to the Bruins and Claude’s style of play, which by the way, got the Bruins in the Finals twice and and the team’s first Cup in 40 years. Also, with salary relief they got in the Seguin trade, they signed Iginla. The trade worked out well for everyone and there is no saying whether the Bruins would have won a Cup with Kessel.

    • tdrusher225 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      This is essentially what Kessel projected to be and Chiarelli knew what he was giving up when he traded him, but since Kessel was dealt the Bruins have turned into one of the NHL’s yearly elite championship contenders. At the same time, Toronto has been able to put some pieces alongside Kessel to take the pressure off and put together one of the better forward groups in the NHL. So it’s nice to see that it’s starting to work out for both sides

  4. c9castine - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    kessel, from the red line in, is really hard to control on this ice. ill just say that, and be happy he plays for USA and does what he does in the offensive zone.

    best american forward so far in my opinion has been joe pavelski or ryan kesler

  5. joey4id - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Good for Kessel, but it will mean squat if USA doesn’t win gold. I hope he has enough balls to tell his teammates that he wants nothing less than good and the MVP means sweet FA.

    • slickvb82 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:47 AM

      Say what!? haha

  6. hawksin5 - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    I CANT TAKE THIS!!!! I WANT THE GAME TO START NOOOW!!!!!!!!!!

  7. terrier92 - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    If USA wins gold next time Kessel comes to da Garden he will here sincere Thank You Kessel chant lol Btw Dallas Boston and Toronto did well in these trades All about fit and style of play

  8. slaugin - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    Tough to chant “Thank You Raycroft “these days. But seriously it prob has something to do with the time and development it took til Tuukka was the “guy” in net

  9. iammrbinky - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    Amazing that in this day and age you still have people who are clueless when it comes to the internet.

    Here’s a tip for next time:

    http://www.google.com

  10. barkar942 - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:44 AM

    Not too shabby for the last picked All Star in the first All-Star Draft.

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