Kovacevic: Don’t act like Phil was only problem ☕️


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Phil Kessel. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

It's a terrific trade from the Pittsburgh perspective: The Penguins move Phil Kessel, a problem, within the constraints of a limited no-trade clause, another problem, and free up some cap space, yet another problem, to the Coyotes for 25-year-old sharpshooter Alex Galchenyuk and a legit defense prospect.

That's a lot of problems out, a lot of potential solutions in.

I mean, what's not to like?

Jim Rutherford for mayor ... for governor ... for grand emperor!

And hey, I promise I'll delve deeply into why I appreciate this move in a bit. First, though, before any assessments extend too far toward what this might mean toward the franchise's future, I've got a concern to express: Phil was a problem, but he wasn't the problem.

That can't be underscored boldly enough.

Because the cold-water fact in this equation is that, on the list of Penguins' problems all through the 2018-19 season, a supremely skilled forward with a championship pedigree, an 82-point output, an 82-game presence, and an above-the-pack playoff performance can't rank very high, can they?

As Rutherford worded it with class, "He was a key component to our success in winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. We couldn’t have done it without him."


But now, they have to do it without him. And they're better off doing it without him. Provided a few other major issues also get addressed, and I'll offer these in order of priority:

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