Welcome to the NHL: Mike Halmo hammers Phil Kessel on first shift

Mike Halmo played in his first NHL game Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. And he made the most of the opportunity, blowing up Phil Kessel on his very first shift.

Mike Halmo was never drafted into the NHL – he was signed as a free agent by the New York Islanders. He’s a four-year graduate of the esteemed Owen Sound Attack system who has been playing with the American League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the past two seasons.

On Thursday night, Halmo, a Kitchener, Ont., native made his NHL debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

You can imagine the nervous excitement any rookie would have as he hops over NHL boards for the first time, especially so for a player like Halmo, who may not always be afforded the same opportunities as a drafted player.

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So when Halmo got his first shift in the big leagues Thursday, he made the most of it and left a solid impression.

What better way to start your NHL career and make instant fans from not only supporters of your team, but teams around the league, than to blow up the leading scorer of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Leaf lovers will loathe him and Leaf loathers will love him.

Halmo got 9:01 of ice time and had four hits on the night.

Welcome to the NHL.

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