NHL: Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins

Phil Kessel is usually a man of few words.

Not much changed Sunday at media day in Pittsburgh, but the talented Penguins winger did offer up the nugget of the day, chiming in on a situation he knows all too well.

“I know what he’s going through and what he dealt with,” Kessel said of Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, according to Michael Traikos of Postmedia. “Obviously he wants to win really bad because he got, I’d say, the shaft in Montreal a little bit.”

“That’s how it goes. So you want to prove people wrong. I know what he’s feeling like.”

Kessel is a former Toronto Maple Leafs castoff from two seasons ago, and most would say he was harshly and unfairly criticized for the failures of a team riddled with issues, both on the ice and in the front office. Subban felt similar backlash after the Montreal Canadiens missed the 2016 playoffs, as he was promptly dealt out of town to Nashville for Shea Weber.

However, the situations surrounding both players’ departures were very different.

Subban was moved – among other reasons – due to Montreal wanting to change its identity and become stronger defensively on the back end, whereas Kessel was a casualty of Brendan Shanahan’s rebuild in Toronto, a club looking to shed veterans and salary.

Either way, both players are clearly using their checkered pasts as motivation to put their new respective clubs over the top, and so far, it seems to be working.


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