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Thursday FTB: Phil thrills! But how is his breath?

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"Nice guy. Trys hard. Loves the game."

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Kessel, well known to be the guy with whom you can't win, is winning. Not only is he winning, but his line with Hagelin and Bonino are dominating in every measurable way.

Phil was, sadly, too good for us. He was treated like shit, often mocked with flat out lies, because his awkward persona was better monetized for cheap ad revenue clicks on websites than attempting to understand stats and report on his amazing skill.

On those rare times we ever got to see an unscripted Phil, you could see the guy is amazing.

COACH COOPER: I think, like when you look at their team, Phil Kessel probably doesn't get near the respect he deserves. I mean, he's scored a ton of goals in this league.

Last night we saw one of those moments again. Pierre McGuire asked Kessel how his breath was. Why would McGuire ask that when the game is obviously long over, with even sufficient time for Phil to have changed and maybe even showered too? Probably because McGuire is an idiot.

Yet out of this inane question we got to witness one of the most Kesselesque moments ever!

Upon hearing this dumb question, our hockey hero thought McGuire was actually telling him he had bad breath. Phil's reaction upon realising he didn't understand the question is one of those few glimpses of the real Phil we have. And it is priceless.

Kessel could be the star of a CBS sitcom where a random suburban dad accidentally becomes the best player in the NHL.

Oh yeah, about that best player bit. Is he not seriously on a run to win the Conn Smythe trophy? For sure, it's still early days, but I cannot wait for the furious revisionist history that will play out by certain people if that happens.

In fact, isn't this exactly what the NHL needs? We know the league crafted, in conjunction with NBC and Rogers, a "Stars First" marketing strategy, that was to ram emotionless automatons with programmed responses, like Crosby and McDavid, down out throats 24/7, no matter how little of a story there is to write. Hockey players were supposed to be marketed as the "good boys you can let your children like". They are clean cut, and don't ever get in trouble.

Now, I will depart for a moment and note P.K. Subban. He's definitely not emotionless, and definitely a great guy, but oh are they ever overexposing him in ads. How many commercials is he in every game night now? 10? 15? Half of them for Scotiabank, which, I wonder if they realise are rapidly making themselves the bank every NHL fan absolutely despises. I'd rather even see that cheesy Enterprise Rent-a-Car commercial they've been recycling for the past 6 years.

So, back to the Conn Smythe trophy. Isn't it amazing that some of the guys most likely to win are not at all the players whom they want to market the game? Remember when an NBC executive openly mused that players should stop having beards because they will be more marketable.

And now here is hockey fighting back; the fans cheering on the ones that absolutely appall those executives. Doesn't it feel great that Phil Kessel could well hoist the Conn Smythe?

Or how about THIS GUY? How many heads will explode at NBC and Sportsnet if he lifts up the Conn Smythe trophy live on national television?

(I will point out that, of all people, Don Cherry loves Brent Burns.

Penguins 4 - Lightning 2

Game 3, Penguins vs. Lightning Recap: PHIL PHIL PHIL! Pens win 4-2 - PensBurgh
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Lightning outplayed in second half in 4-2 loss to Penguins - Raw Charge
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