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Get your Phil Ph-riday

A new feature for the rest of the summer: Phil Ph-ridays celebrating the Pittsburgh Penguins new winger

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

It's summer, it's fun, and not much is happening, so now a new weekly summer feature on Friday to help tide us through the hot months...Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Phil Ph-ridays at Pensburgh, celebrating and getting to know the joy that is Phil Kessel.


All of the goals Kessel scored in 2014-15. Other than the epic music what I like is to see that there's basically 4 types of goals he scores:

  • The simple "find a loose puck near the net and bury it". Like most great goal scorers, Kessel is visibly hungry around the net (nice pun, eh Toronto media?) Often tapping his stick, wanting the puck to put it home. He's smart enough to find open space in high-percentage areas. All he needs is to get a pass or collect the rebound and boom, it's in the net.
  • Scoring goals on quick snap shots on the rush, usually from the right side, exhibiting his great foot-speed and incredible release-point on shots that confound goalies who are having to adjust their own positioning and can't recover in time. Same goes for defensemen in transition, who have to protect the inside, Kessel can easily wheel outside them to where they can't hinder him, cut in and shoot.
  • Extended plays and goals from far range, when Kessel holds onto the puck and skates it for long periods of time, circling the offensive zone, showcasing skill and wreaking havoc on the defense, which also changes the angle on the goalie in a clinical way as he swoops around the zone, puck on stick, head up and ready for the shot when it's there.
  • Power play, lined up in the left circle and cheating in towards the net when it's available. The closer you can get to the net in the NHL, the better your odds of scoring, says Captain Obvious.

The shot selection is impressive and worth pointing out as well. Kessel mostly isn't picking top corners on high-risk shots that could easily go a little high or wide (and ruin the whole chance). He is seeing where the goalie is and putting the puck past him. Most of his goals in that youtube come on mid-height or even low shots, that can be a challenge for any goalie to stop. (Especially since goalies are bred to be expecting the high cheese and usually can't drop into a butterfly fast enough by the time Kessel shoots). Kessel's shot placement is superb. Combine that with a super-fast release and it's a hell of a combination.

GIF of the week


No mercy at rock-paper-scissors.

Photoshop of the week

Shoutout to TSN's BarDown (a really cool site with lots of great content) for actually sourcing where they got it from. Can't say the same for every mainstream media outlet.

PPP Article of the Week

We love our friends at Pension Plan Puppets, one of the funniest and most honest blogs on the SBN Hockey Network. So all summer we'll highlight an article they've had so we can better get to know Phil.

Unfortunately, for our beginning with Phil, we start at their ending in the aftermath of the trade, and they're not taking it well.


Your loss is our gain, Maple Leaf fans. Sorry?

Vine It Up

Oh. you sly dog, you, Phil. Ignore the jersey colors and you already see that being Chris Kunitz (or maybe even Sidney Crosby) driving to the net there.


We hope you got your Phil for the week. Despair not, we'll be back next Friday with another dose of the offensive awesomeness that is Phil Kessel.