Toronto Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel embraces fighting

Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

You could have predicted Phil Kessel will score 60 goals, 120 points and win the Art Ross this season, and some people would’ve said, “yeah, I can see that happening.” Because Phil the Thrill is a scorer. Whether he can actually score 60 or crack one hundred remains to be seen, but a projection like that fits his MO. That being said, if you told me through preseason and just over a month of NHL action that Phil is dropping the gloves once every six weeks, it would have been hard to take you seriously.

Before Saturday night’s game in Vancouver between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Canucks, Kessel hadn’t fought in a regular season game since 2009. The Leafs sniper dropped his mitts and held on for dear life in a scrap with Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Kris Russel on December 3rd, 09′. 



The Saturday night classic between the Leafs and Vancouver Canucks was surprisingly violent considering the two clubs haven’t played against each other since the 2011-12 NHL season. One of the early trends in the Hockey Night in Canada featured game was the targeting of star players. The Leafs tried repeatedly to make the Sedins uncomfortable. In response, the Canucks did the same to Kessel. But Phil didn’t back down or care much for his nemesis, Alex Burrows. So, in the first period, with the Canucks already leading on the scoreboard, Kessel dropped his gloves and engaged the Canucks’ pest in a one-on-one fight that ended up being more wrestling than boxing. But, the intentions were there. Don’t mess with Phil because if he isn’t chopping you down like a tree he just might knock your lights out. Phil Kessel vs Alex Burrows courtesy of Hockey Fights’ YouTube Channel. Subscribe here



And of course, Phil’s best fight occurred in the 2013 preseason against Buffalo SabresBrian FlynnAnother one from Hockey Fights’ YouTube Channel. 



In this fight, Kessel bloodies his opponent then lets up. Good guy.