Phil Kessel is a lightning rod for media attention, good and bad. The good is usually centered around his goal-scoring abilities; he has averaged around 30 goals per season since breaking into the NHL in 2007, and undoubtedly one of the better American-born goal scorers in the game today. The bad attention he sometimes received most commonly comes when he visits Boston, where he broke into the NHL with the Bruins before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, his current NHL team, in 2009.
- Won a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics.
- Played in the NHL All-Star Game in both 2011 and 2012.
- Represented the U.S. at the IIHF World Championships in both 2006, 2007 and 2008.
- Played for the U.S. in the World Junior Championships in both 2005 and 2006.
- In 2006-07, he won the NHL's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the player who 'best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the sport of hockey'.
Things to know:
1. Suffered from testicular cancer during his rookie NHL season--he was sidelined for less than a month--leading to his becoming the first NHL rookie to ever win the Masterton Trophy.
2. His sister, Amanda, is a member of the U.S. women's national hockey team. His brother, Blake, plays professional hockey, having most notably played for the Philadelphia Flyers' top minor-league affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. His father, Phil Sr., was a football quarterback who was once drafted by the Washington Redskins.
3. As featured on HBO's 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs, he, along with team captain Dion Phaneuf, are considered the unofficial Toronto Maple Leafs' ping pong champions.