Phil Kessel has been outstanding through three games of the Eastern Conference final, and in Game 3 he scored once, has an assist and put eight shots on goal in more than 19 minutes of playing time.
With a performance like that, you’d expect the 28-year-old winger to be a bit gassed after the contest, so NBCSN’s Pierre McGuire was trying to get a window into Kessel’s conditioning following Pittsburgh’s Game 3 victory. The wording of the question tripped up Kessel, though, which led to him giving a ridiculous response not about his conditioning level — or breath, as McGuire said — but instead saying he could maybe use a Tic Tac. The question comes around the 1:05-mark:
Old-school wrestler Jack Pfefer once went by “The Halitosis Kid,” and following his interview with McGuire, Kessel is probably hoping the same nickname won’t be following him around for the rest of the post-season or even beyond. It would be fitting, though, were Kessel to carry the moniker at the same time his line with Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin is being called the ‘HBK’ Line, which has caught the attention of former pro grappler “The Heart Break Kid” Shawn Michaels.
Bad breath or not, Kessel has been a terror this post-season for the Penguins and could be a frontrunner for the Conn Smythe Trophy if Pittsburgh can get past the Tampa Bay Lightning and into the Stanley Cup final. Kessel has seven goals and 16 points through 14 playoff games to lead the Penguins in scoring this post-season, and he’s been all over the ice throughout Round Three. It shouldn’t be all too shocking Kessel is performing so well because he’s always been a post-season threat. In 36 career playoff games, Kessel has 20 goals and 37 points.