Don’t mess with Phil.
The backlash was blistering this past off-season when reports surfaced that right winger Phil Kessel had clashed with Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan, partly over wanting to play with center Evgeni Malkin, and that the Penguins might consider trading Kessel.
Fans reacted on social media and sports talk shows by vehemently defending Kessel. After all, in his three seasons since being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs, he has helped the Penguins win two Stanley Cups, and last season he put up a career-best 92 points. “Pittsburgh’s been great,” Kessel said in the early days of 2018-19. “The fans are great. The city’s great. I think I fit in well.”
Dating to its steel-mill days, Pittsburgh at its core has an everyman, shot-and-a-beer mentality. Kessel apparently com...
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