Take a look at the NHL scoring leaders page right now and you will see Phil Kessel’s mug on top of the goals and points list.

This of course has caused many Leaf fans to go into a frenzy declaring him the 2012 Rocket Richard and Art Ross Trophy winner (Not the Hart just yet though, THAT would be ridiculous) .

All kidding aside, he IS off to a great start. 8 goals, 6 assists, 14 points in just 7 games is pretty impressive. However, this looks strangely familiar, deja vu if you will (no, not a glitch in the Matrix).

Over the last 4 years, Phil Kessel has made a habit of quick starts.

In fact, during that time period he has the following averages through the first 7 games of the season

6.25 goals, 3 assists, 9.25 points.

Once again…impressive.

However, this trend takes an interesting turn of events, and that turn happens at game #8.

He hits what I have coined as The Kessel Wall.

Over the last 3 years (obviously this year hasn’t happened yet) , the next 7 games of the season have been rough for Kessel. His numbers drop considerably:

Games 8-14 averages: 1.6 goals, 1 assists, 2.6 points

To quote Neo: Whoa

Why does this happen? No idea.

Bad goaltending, early season excitement, or teams adjusting could all be reasons.

Our very own Daniel Wagner had a great piece on a stad called PDO that could explain it.

Either way,  gamblers, fantasy players, anyone with an invested interest in Phil Kessel’s performance should take note because game 8 is tonight in Philly.

Will it happen again? That I can’t say for sure, but I will say that trends are called trends for a reason.


Let’s see what else is going on….

Jonathan Quick has posted three straight shutouts…watch out Brian Boucher (The Royal Half)

Matthew Sekeres had a really good breakdown of some of the subplots in the Canucks-Panthers trade over the weekend

Speaking of the trade, how would the Sedins welcome David Booth to town? (Barry Melrose Rocks)

One game on the board last night, and it was hardly a marquee match up as the Coyotes were taking on the Ducks. But Mike Smith did throw his hat into the ring for an early Save of the Year candidate

So who is to blame for the Habs terrible start? According to Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette…Everyone!

We can’t talk terrible starts without bringing up Columbus…how long before heads roll? (Pro Hockey Talk)

Jason Spezza’s laugh…annoying. Jason’s Spezza’s laugh dubbed over a scene from Seinfeld…hilarious (Dirty Dangle)

I told you Brett Hull was going to be hilarious on twitter! (Puck Daddy)

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a fan refers to their favourite team as “We”…I guess I’m not the only one (Spector’s hockey)

Reminder:  Episode two of The Backhand Shelf podcast with myself and Justin Bourne will be up on the site today around 4:30pm. Download it here or on iTunes.



Comments (3)

  1. Fuck the Toronto media. How about a little praise while someone’s actually playing well.

  2. Good God. Would there ever be a time when people would not shit on Phil Kessel? He’s off to a truly remarkable start by anyone’s standards but… OK. So his numbers are less impressive because you hate how Leaf fans get overly excited. Or you just hate Leaf fans. Thanks for putting us back in our bleak little places. Sorry for being excited about a great start by one of our players. Now let’s get back to that story on head shots cause that’ll calm me down and bring me back to earth. Sheesh!

  3. I am a Leaf fan, but If I had Kessel in a fantasy pool I would be selling right about now. Off to a great start but Kessel is still not playing with a top centre. He won’t be able to keep it up with Bozak, and Lupul is also a very streaky player.

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