The world keeps getting better for Boston Bruins winger Phil Kessel, who today was named the NHL’s First Star for the week ending Dec. 14. The speedster beat out Second Star Petr Sykora of Pittsburgh and Third Star Thomas Vanek of Buffalo.
Kessel is riding a 15-game point-scoring streak into this week. The Bruins, who had today off, don’t play a game until Thursday night’s home date with Toronto.
But another interesting streak is his games-played string, which has now reached 155 regular-season contests (he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs last spring). That means Kessel hasn’t missed a regular-season game since returning from his cancer-caused absence as a rookie in the winter of 2007.
Today, Kessel addressed that streak during a league-held conference call.
“I’d never, never, never want to miss a game. I love it so much. Even if you have little bumps and bruises, you’re always going to play,” he said. “I don’t know. I guess I’m fortunate to not have any injuries so far, really bad injuries. So you just go out there and play and hopefully nothing happens.”
Kessel went on to talk a bit about his change of perspective since his victory over cancer.
“You always love the game, but you never realize how much you miss it until it’s gone. You know, I never realized (it). When you’re not playing, you don’t know what to do. You’re just so bored. I just couldn’t – now when I look back at it, you just couldn’t be someone that didn’t play hockey. I love it so much. My love for the game, I missed it so much I had to get back right away.”