I want to take you back to January 28th, 20011. The NHL was holding their first ever All-Star game draft. Team Lidstrom vs Team Staal. School yard rules where captains pick players one by one.
Some people (like me) loved the new format, while others (Leafs GM Brian Burke) hated it because someone had to be picked last.
On and on the rounds went (To add insult to injury, each time a player was drafted they would remove his chair) , until there was only one man left sitting. That man was Phil Kessel.
I have to give him credit, he was being a good sport and taking it with a smile.
Then IT happened. Alexander Ovechkin took out his camera and pulled the grade 5 equivalent of pantsing someone in front of the whole class. He grabbed a snapshot of Kessel sitting all by himself and posted on his twitter account.
“We are happy with our last pick in the draft, we take Phil Kessel”
Kessel then turned into that nerd that got made fun of his whole life. The guy who would be pushed into a locker and every day would say to himself:
“One day, I’ll show him!”
Then he goes on to invent some computer chip that the world can’t spin without and makes a zillion dollars.
That may be an exaggeration for any other city that has an NHL team, but not Toronto. Phil Kessel has invented that computer chip.
How much did that picture affect him? Let’s look at the stats
2010-11 BEFORE Picture was taken: 34 points in 49 games (0.69 PPG)
2010-11 AFTER Picture was taken: 30 points in 33 games (0.91 PPG)
So there was an immediate increase that season. There is an even bigger increase when you look at this stat:
Before picture was taken his career average was 0.63 points per game.
After picture was taken: 1.07
Some may also point out that the “bully” in this story may be going bald and getting fat. Alexander Ovechkin was averaging 1.30 points per game before the picture, since then: 1.02.
It is still early in the season, but you can’t ignore what Kessel has done. He is the league’s top goal and point scorer, and we may have Ovechkin to thank.
However I think the icing on the cake may come in a couple of months at this years All Star Game draft. If he keeps playing the way he is, we may hear the following:
With the first overall pick we select Phil Kessel
Let’s head to the links;
According to Devils head coach Peter Deboer, Adam Larsson can learn from last night’s game (Fire and Ice)
The Ducks made some moves in an attempt to stop the ugliness, Anaheim Calling breaks it all down
Could we see llya Kovalchuck back in the line-up for the Devils tonight? (Pro Hockey Talk)
Now time for your “That can’t be right” stat of the day: Concussions are down (Toronto Sun)
Want to know what’s going on at the GM meetings? Check out this post on Puck Daddy
Will the Sens make the playoffs? It comes down to numbers. (Dirty Dangle)
Set the Monster Free! (Vintage Leaf Memories)
Hey Leafs fans, want to read about trade rumours? Stupid question (Bleacher Report)
Hockey Canada might be adding shot blocking to their agenda (Calgary Herald)
And I usually add one video to end this post, but with the dangles last night, I have extended it to two!