Unless I possess a complete misunderstanding of the game, Phil Kessel chirps ... a ... lot.
Every game, he tosses comments back and forth with opponents at the face off hashes and contorts his face in those Jim Carrey-like ways I've described before.
I can never hear what is being said, so it could be the old joke of "How's the family, want to get dinner soon?" But, there were enough tells about the game Josh Anderson played Thursday to say ... that probably wasn't the case.
[caption id="attachment_787932" align="aligncenter" width="640"] MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]
I watched it all game, too. When No. 81 lined up across from No. 77, the mouths got moving. One time, Anderson wasn't so keen on whatever was said and actually turned to look at the nearby official in a way that appeared to signal something along the lines of being fed up with the laughing Kessel.
I'd love to get a listen on what's being said so I can confirm this suspicion, but these photos will have to do for now. I'll be keeping a tight eye on the actions of Kessel before face-offs and attempting to provide more evidence or debunk said suspicion.
[caption id="attachment_787939" align="aligncenter" width="640"] MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]
PHILLED WITH JOY
A single image is all that goes here. It's not above in the game's gallery, but it gets its own space. When it happened, I had no idea Kessel scored. I thought it was Patric Hornqvist by the way he reacted so emphatically. I saw Evgeni Malkin come in for a massive hug. I never saw Sidney Crosby's reaction live.
This team needs Kessel to score, and the reactions of the captain and the Nashville hero say it all.
[caption id="attachment_787943" align="aligncenter" width="640"] MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]
KINKAID IS KRYPTONITE
Another single image ... and I know I'm beating this horse. Keith Kinkaid is Penguins kryptonite. It's why he was acquired, I'm sure. It's why Sergei Bobrovsky was the odd goalie out Thursday night ... And it's why Kinkaid rode the bench all night?
Joonas Korpisalo played a fine game for himself. He probably shouldn't have been beaten by Nick Bjugstad, but ... that's the way the jacket falls from the hanger or the cookie crumbles or whatever. If you have a guy who plays like he's Martin Brodeur against the Penguins, you play him.
Loved this image of him watching the loss from the bench and had to share it. You'll be seeing it again.
AMERICAN NINJA SOUVENIRS
A few times a hockey game, fans get a souvenir to take home. Most of the time it's a biscuit of vulcanized rubber you hope finds the stands in the most peaceful of ways.
Sometimes it's an official reaching through one of the photographers' portals to find a young fan. Other times it's a puck popped over the glass. Others a player or coach sends a puck into the rows behind the bench.
Thursday evening, during the Penguins 3-0win over the Blue Jackets, a fan received a souvenir puck in the most unique way I've seen yet.
Originally, I wanted to lead with this story, but the photo would have been a bit of a tough read at the top of this story in a horizontal format.
So here's a better look via a vertical crop of the image showing things a bit clearer than it would have up there:
[caption id="attachment_787926" align="aligncenter" width="480"] MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]
The puck popped out of play and found its way there without ever coming down. A fan or two pushed on the glass, trying to force the puck from its new home.
It wouldn't fall.
That's when the young fan seen above made his way over in hopes he could be the first to pounce on it. Well, he started to climb the outside of the dasher boards with the assistance of the fans around him and was eventually lifted as you can see there.
He stretched his arms, got two fingers on the puck and pulled it away from the netting to the cheers of section 110 and those who bore witness.
Much safer than catching a deflected slap shot, and much more fun for me to see across the rink.
As always, you guys and gals can flip through the game's best images at the top of this page in gallery format (I think it's one of the better sets of the year.). See you in the comments and from Columbus, Ohio!