No. 5: By all accounts, Phil Kessel had a solid sophomore season in the NHL leading into the Boston Bruins’ playoff series with Montreal.
As a rookie, he’d fought off testicular cancer and showed flashes of brilliance en route to 11 goals and 18 assists in 70 games. In his second season last winter, he skated in all 82 games and put up 19-18-37 totals. But after the Bruins were dominated in a 4-1 loss to the Habs in Game 1 in Montreal, head coach Claude Julien decided to shake things up — and his target was Kessel.
The then-20-year-old right winger was shipped up to the press box for Games 2, 3 and 4 — of which Boston won just one. What followed after a 1-0 Game 4 loss with the reinsertion of Kessel into the line-up is a story worthy of the top 10 of ’08. (more…)