Phil Kessel on undesirable combination of slump and Bruins fans: ‘It doesn’t bother me’
|02.15.11 at 1:02 pm ET|
Phil Kessel is bringing the second-worst scoring slump of his NHL career with him as he and the Maple Leafs take on the Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden. A popular target among fans given the trade that sent him Toronto prior to the 2009-10 season, Kessel said he isn’t worried about entering a hostile environment riding streak of 14 straight games without a goal.
“No,” Kessel said when asked about it. “Like I said before, it doesn’t bother me very much. It’s been a year and a half now, so I don’t think it’s that big a deal.
“I just get over it,” he added about how he is treated by Bruins fans. “Obviously, I loved my time here in Boston. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the city, the team and the players over there. I loved playing here.”
Kessel, 23, last scored on Jan. 11, and he has not gone 15 straight games without a goal since his rookie season. He has been placed on a new line with Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak.
“It’s been tough, obviously, but I think it’s happened to everyone in this league,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep going. I’m getting a lot of chances, to tell you the truth. I just can’t figure out a way to put it in the net.”
While many will be focused on the former fifth overall pick’s latest return to Boston, Kessel, who scored 36 goals in his final season as a Bruin, is hoping he can help the Maple Leafs pick up the pace a day after the trade of forward (and Kessel’s roommate) Kris Versteeg.
“He’s a great player. We’ve got to keep going here, right? We’re 10 points out, so we’ve got to fight here,” Kessel said. “If we win a couple of games and get right back in this. Hopefully that’s what we can do.”