Player of the Week - Phil Kessel

Playing in a hockey hot-bed like Toronto can be both rewarding and frustrating, a fact no one may know better than Leafs forward Phil Kessel. Blessed with otherworldly speed and a hard, quick shot, he possesses the kind of talent that every team in the NHL desires. It was these attributes that led the Maple Leafs to trade for Kessel in the summer of 2009, making him the face of the ever-evolving Maple Leafs franchise. This tag has brought with it added scrutiny for Kessel, as the Leafs have continued to find their identity since his arrival and have not made the playoffs since the lockout. During his time in Toronto, Kessel has had his ups and downs and has quickly learned what it is like playing in the fishbowl that comes with being a marquee player in Canada’s largest city. Now while things have not always gone exactly how the fans, the Leafs and even Kessel have wanted them to, there is no question that when on top of his game, he is an elite offensive player and someone that demands attention from the opposition whenever he steps on the ice. Whether it has been at the collegiate level, the AHL, the NHL or the international stage, Kessel has proven everywhere that he can puck the puck in the back of the net. As the Leafs continue to tweak their lineup and surround Kessel with more players his age and who compliment his abilities, you can bet that his ability to dominate and produce offensively for the Leafs will only continue to grow. While the Leafs have fought their way back into a race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, it is no coincidence that the team’s strong play of late has coincided with Kessel’s red-hot play which has seen him net seven goals and 13 points during the last seven games, including eight points in the last week alone.
  • Phil was a huge part of the Leafs recent surge towards an Eastern Conference playoff position, helping the team to capture six of a possible eight points in four games last week
  • Phil led the NHL in scoring over this time period, tallying four goals and four assists for eight points
  • His scoring output this week has brought his total to 26 goals on the season to date, a number that leads the Maple Leafs

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Born in Madison, Wisconsin, USA on October 2, 1987
  • Drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1st round, 5th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft
  • Played his college hockey at the University of Minnesota for the Golden Gophers
  • Has represented the United States at numerous international events, including the 2005 & 2006 IIHF World Junior Championships, the 2006, 2007 & 2008 IIHF Men’s World Hockey Championships and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics where he was a part of the United States team that took home the silver medal
  • Awarded the 2006-07 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy – his rookie season, which saw him recover from testicular cancer and return to the Bruins’ lineup
  • Played in 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina

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