Former Bruins fifth overall pick Phil Kessel  spoke with the media Thursday as he and the Maple Leafs  prepare to take on the B’s at TD Garden. Kessel was traded to the Leafs for a package of draft picks (one of which was spent on Tyler Seguin ) and went without a goal in six games against his former club last season.
“I don’t want to stick it to them, I want to obviously play well,” Kessel said. “Last year I had a lot of chances, I just didn’t score. Hopefully I can change it this year and the most important thing is just getting wins.
“They’re a good team over there, so it’s not easy to score against them anyways,” he added. Kessel noted that he isn’t concerned with the reaction given to him by the crowd, who he said can “do whatever they want.”
The Bruins were unable to strike a long-term deal with Kessel prior to the trade, but the way things ended in Boston won’t change the 23-year-old’s view of the city and his experience.
“I loved it here,” Kessel said. “They city was great to me, the fans were great to me. I loved playing here and I had great teammates here. Obviously, it didn’t work out, but that happens.”
Seguin and Kessel met over the summer in Atlantic City for a Bauer promotion they were doing, with Seguin saying Wednesday that the two discussed the cities of Boston and Toronto. Kessel gave Seguin pointers on local dining and other goings on. One topic that was not brought up, as noted by Kessel on Thursday, was that the two will likely be linked to one another for their entire careers because of the trade, which also sent a 2010 second-rounder and a 2011 first-rounder to the B’s.
“No, we never talked about that,” Kessel said. “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
If the former 36-goal-scorer truly believes that it isn’t a big deal, he’ll be in for a surprise when Seguin-mania meets Kessel-mania for those on hand at the Garden Thursday night. Kessel has seven goals on the season, good for third-best in the NHL .
Kessel did say on Thursday that he feels for Marc Savard , who the Bruins have been without all season due to post-concussion syndrom symptoms. Kessel kept up with following Savard’s progress as he initially tried coming back from a March 7 hit from the Penguins ‘ Matt Cooke , and hopes his former teammate can overcome his current setback.
“I’ve talked to him a little bit, but not lately,” Kessel said. “Not for a while. When [the concussion] happened, I sent him a text or two. Obviously I followed it. Obviously it’s a tough issue and hopefully he can come through.
“I feel terrible for him,” he added. “Obviously, any player that gets hurt like that, it’s not a good thing.”