It’s impossible not to like Phil Kessel. Last night, he set a new NHL record that most people thought was impossible to beat.
Players get to rest in the NHL more often than before. Star players can get sidelined if they’re not feeling a hundred percent, and most teams don’t take any risks regarding injuries or fatigue.
But Phil Kessel hasn’t missed a game in ten years, and last night, he became the NHL all-time iron man.
The Vegas Golden Knights winger played in his 990th consecutive game and passed defenseman Keith Yandle for the record.
Phil Kessel has had a hell of a career. As a rookie, he overcame testicular cancer. He’s played in two Olympics. And in the record-breaking game against the San Jose Sharks, he scored his 400th NHL goal. Kessel has also won two Stanley Cups.
But Phil Kessel is liked for how he is as a person, just as much as for a hockey player. Phil Kessel isn’t like any other player in the league. During his days in Pittsburgh, he got known as the guy who always ate hot dogs. And during his day with the Stanley Cup, he, of course, ate hot dogs from the cup.
Phil Kessel is well-trained and in great shape. If you’re not, you can’t play for 990 consecutive games. But he’s always been special off the ice. Former teammate Blake Wheeler has revealed that Kessel doesn’t even drink water.
”I don’t know if this still holds true, but for the longest time, he never drank water,” Wheeler adds. “He would only drink blue Powerade. He didn’t like the taste of water,” Wheeler told Sportsnet.
But Kessel doesn’t just enjoy Powerade. He also loves Coca-Cola. In fact, he loves it so much that one time, he even thought about quitting hockey because of a rule in the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room.
Speaking on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, former teammate John-Michael Liles revealed that Kessel was ready to walk out on his $64 million contract with the Maple Leafs when Randy Carlyle was appointed as head coach.
”Phil was ready to quit playing hockey when he found out Randy was getting hired, because Phil only drinks Coke, he doesn’t drink water,” Liles said.
”He heard Randy doesn’t like Coke in the locker room, and he’s like, ’I’ll f*cking quit, I swear to god.’ He didn’t care about the money. ’I don’t need this shit,’ he said.”
Never change, Phil. Never change.