Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel was not named to the 2018 All-Star Metropolitan division roster.
Well they did it. They wronged our boy again. The NHL released the rosters for the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 10. The Metropolitan division will be represented by two Pittsburgh Penguins. Phil Kessel in not one of them.
Now this isn’t a rant to take anything away from Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang (both of whom were selected). But I have to say, even with two Pens named to the team, the disrespect shown towards Phil trumps any sort of happiness a fan could derive from this.
Phil lead the Penguins in Goals, Assists, and Points (18 G, 29 A, 47 P). He also leads the league in powerplay points with 27. With numbers like this, on a team that has struggled this season, it’s a no brainer: Phil’s your All-Star.
He should not suffer because he plays on the same team as Sidney Crosby. Let’s call a spade a spade; Sid is going to this All-Star game because he is Sidney Crosby. The NHL wants the face of the league at their All-Star event. I get it. That makes sense. I can even make peace with that.
With each team represented by at least one player, we all knew spots would be tight. Sid was a lock for Pittsburgh, which could have given voters all the more reason to snub Phil. And you know what, if it would have ended there, I would have been fine. Cool as cucumber.
But to name Kris Letang to this All-Star roster is a downright blunder. He ranks 15th among D-men in points, sure. But his defensive play has caused so many headaches, it’s not fair to let 24 assists justify 60 giveaways. If there was room for a second Penguin on the team, how could it not have been Phil?
If the voting process was conducted by a fourth grader who hasn’t seen a game since 2016, hey this adds up. But NHL, or the writers, or God himself messed this up.
I’m Not Mad, Just…Disappointed
Again I don’t want to harp on how anyone doesn’t deserve the honor (although I did), maybe this sort of thing with give Letang a shot of confidence, really pump him for the second half. But it’s ridiculous to see someone who’s played some of the best hockey of his career be ignored. And this is nothing new for Phil.
After Kessel was the leading scorer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The USA released it’s roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and no Phil Kessel.
How about the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs? Phil scores 10 goals in the postseason, leading all Pittsburgh Penguins en route to a victory over the Sharks. Gary Bettman channeled his best soup Nazi after game 6 – “No Conn Smythe for you!”
It’s not about the All-Star game really. It’s just the principle of the matter. Phil Kessel has been the only constant on a team as volatile as the price of bitcoin.
For a guy that has become a meme, and still plays at a world class level, you would expect more for him. I just wish the All-Star Game was truly about what you’ve done this season, not who are and what you’ve done in the past.