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Friday January 28, 2011 9:31 pm

Phil Kessel goes last, wins car




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Drafts, NHL,

Phil KesselNobody cared about who would go first. Few more care about whether the Sedin’s would be split up. What everybody wanting to know going into the NHL All-Star Draft was who would be left sitting alone on the floor before being the final “pick” of the draft. The inaugural honors went to Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The humiliation of the title is being abated by a $20,000 donation to charity in his name and a new car for the Leafs’ forward.

If you and your friends did your own mock drafts, chances are high that Kessel bottomed out your lists as well. Why is that? Because he’s just not been that good. Yes, officially he’s an all-star, but he’s been far from the best players in the league. He’s not even been the best Maple Leaf. Mikhail Grabovski has more goals, assists, and power play goals, a better shooting percentage and startlingly higher plus-minus. He’s at home for the weekend.

Kessel will get his time on the ice on Sunday as Toronto’s (or maybe only Brian Burke’s) all-star representative and he’ll have something to prove. He’ll want to show both team captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom that he was worth being picked higher in the draft. A hat trick or do would do the trick. After all, nobody else on the ice will be playing too hard; a multiple-goal performance should be simple for Toronto’s franchise player.

Kessel played it down well, flashing his pearly whites and (eventually) accepting TSN’s James Duthie’s request for an interview, but winning a car will definitely take the sting off of things. At least nobody made a joke about trading two first round picks for Kessel. The only fact about being the last player drafted is that he’s the only guy out there that neither team wanted. Let’s just hope that with his new car Kessel will finally drive to the net.

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