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6 Memorable Phil Kessel Career Moments as He Closes On Ironman Record



Phil Kessel, Stanley Cup Champion Hot Dogs (Photo- Pittsburgh Penguins via Twitter)
Phil Kessel, Stanley Cup Champion Hot Dogs (Photo- Pittsburgh Penguins via Twitter)

Nice guy. Tries hard. Loves the Game.

Phil Kessel is a fan favorite for many NHL hockey fans. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion and 2007 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner is close to breaking an NHL milestone.

On Monday night, against his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kessel will tie retired defenseman Keith Yandle’s consecutive NHL regular season games played record at 989 games. The next night in San Jose, he will break the record with his 990th straight regular season game.

If he continues, he will play his 1,000th straight game on Nov. 17 against another one of his former teams, the Arizona Coyotes.

As he closes in on the achievement, here are Kessel’s best moments in his 17-year NHL career.

These are in no particular order, and are part one of this mini-series at VHN.

1) Sitting w Stella

How fitting for Kessel that the first moment on this list comes from him lounging around his house. In one of the hottest burns in NHL history, Kessel subtweeted Team USA’s 2016 World Cup of Hockey team the night they were eliminated from the tournament by Team Canada.

Kessel, who was coming off his first Stanley Cup that summer, was not selected to represent Team USA for the tournament, primarily due to him having off-season hand surgery. Still, Kessel’s absence from the roster must have struck a nerve with him and his dog Stella. Here’s the legendary Tweet.

And no, he did not Tweet this from his infamous one-seated entertainment room that went viral.

2) Meeting, and then Running For President

Even though he says ‘eh’ more than the average Canadian, Phil Kessel is a straight-up American Guy coming out of Madison, Wisconsin. After the Pittsburgh Penguins won their first of back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016, they met with US President at the time Barack Obama at the White House.

Obama, knowing Kessel was a fan-favorite, frequently memed player, trolled Kessel in his opening statement. This is a real thing that happened in American History.


Taking his status in American politics to the next level, Kessel informally ran for President in 2017. His teammate at the time, Kris Letang, posted a photo to his Instagram page of the two wearing “Phil for President” shirts. The worst/maybe best part about this joke was that 53 people actually voted for Kessel.

3) The Original Zegras

A forgotten moment, in my opinion, is Phil Kessel’s stellar assist to Patric Hornqvist in 2017.

Everyone talks about Trevor Zegras’ assist to Sonny Milano last season, which is undoubtedly a lot prettier. But Kessel and Hornqvist teamed up five years earlier to score a similar goal.

4) Phil Kessel v Ryan Reaves

It was only for 58 games, but Phil Kessel and former Golden Knight Ryan Reaves were teammates in 2017-18. The two hilarious characters had a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, with the two playing basketball outside of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex and Reaves scaring Kessel near Halloween.

5) Rooming with Bozak

When Kessel was with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he was roommates and linemates with Tyler Bozak. The two had a special bromance and gave the media a house tour during the NHL’s road to the Winter Classic in 2014.

“We’ll hang out, watch games, watch TV, play video games, go to dinner, come home, watch a little more TV and go to bed. Other than that, we don’t do sh*t,” said Kessel.

With Kessel providing the housing, Bozak would provide the driving, typically driving him and Kessel to practices and games. They were once late showing up to the Maple Leafs’ locker room which gave us this legendary quip from Randy Carlyle.


6) Hot Dogs

I saved the best for last. Being under the spotlight of the Toronto sports media was something Kessel famously was not too fond of. Criticism of Kessel’s play was frequent when the Leafs went through one of their darkest eras in team history.

Amidst this, Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmonds wrote an infamous column about Kessel’s alleged love of hot dogs. The story went viral and quickly turned into a meme.

Instead of taking offense to the article, Kessel embraced it and got the last laugh by eating hot dogs out of the Stanley Cup on the golf course.

There are a lot of memorable Kessel stories, many of which are out of the public eye. Stay tuned for part two and potentially part three of this series from Vegas Hockey Now.