After leaving practice early yesterday, Kessel will play tonight.
Kessel has a four game point streak going (3G / 1A) and has a total of 15 goals and 10 assists (25 points) in 28 games. His 15 goals has him tied with Sidney Crosby for fifth in the NHL. With Tyler Bozak out, he will likely skate with Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk.
Kessel left practice early today with an undisclosed ailment.
Head coach Randy Carlyle said that "Kessel did not feel good in one part of his body" and asked to be excused from the workout. It does not sound like Kessel is dealing with anything serious, so he should be in the lineup tomorrow vs. the Stars.
Kessel missed Monday's practice because of the flu, but it will not hold him out of Tuesday's contest. Kessel has cooled off after a hot-start, he has not scored in his last four games and only one goal in his last seven. With Tyler Bozak's return just around the corner, expect Kessel to heat-up again.
Kessel did not skate this morning because of the flu.
Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said Kessel will visit doctors today and that he hopes to have him available tomorrow vs. Islanders. If Kessel can not go, Joffrey Lupul will move to first line with James van Riemsdyk and Peter Holland.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Phil Kessel to an 8-year, $64 million US ($8 million AAV) contract extension. The contract comes with a no-movement clause and a limited no-trade clause.
Since being traded to the Maple Leafs, Kessel has scored 119 goals in four seasons. He has had three 30-goal seasons and 20 goals in the shortened season (on pace for 34). He is a one dimensional player, but it is hard to find a consistent 30-goal scorer so Kessel will remain the centrepiece of the Maple Leafs roster for the next eight years. In seven NHL seasons with the Bruins and Maple Leafs, he has 185 goals and 379 points in 504 games.
Kessel leads the league in shots on goal this season but still doesn't have a goal. Now it is not like he isn't playing well, because he is. He's generated tons of chances and hit iron multiple times. It is only a matter of time before he gets a goal. Could it be tonight? And once he does get that monkey off his back, will the flood gates open?
I admit...typing Phil Kessel Fatnasy POTN was weird. #NHL #FantasyHockey
A hat trick vs. the Sens puts Kessel tied for the league lead in goals. Temper short-term expectations as the Leafs have a dainty schedule to open the year but Kessel looks on track to have another 30+ goal season.
And Kessel, who has had a reputation within some circles of the Toronto media for being uptight and brittle, may actually be following his own philosophy. He’s showing his fun side more than ever to his teammates. In fact, he’s taken charge of team fun lately.
Kessel sounds very relaxed, which could lead to more goals. He's scored 62 goals over his two years as a Leaf; he could very well breakout into the 70-80 point range with a better center like Nazem Kadri, Tim Connolly and Matthew Lombardi.