I'll fully admit that I had another Sunday's Best ready to go. There's a ton of Phil Kessel content on the site following his trade to the Coyotes and I could have gotten away with ignoring him completely, going with my planned set of favorite photos from Penguins development camp.
No, I couldn't -- and wouldn't -- do that.
Instead, I sat down at the computer, looked through the 300+ photos I have tagged "Phil Kessel" in our archive, 12,000 or so photos of Penguins games from the last couple of seasons ... just to make sure ... and double checked for good measure. The guy deserved it.
Whether you wanted him to stay or wanted him to go, Phil was a thrill during a lot of his time in Pittsburgh, and the guy had a massive hand in the back-to-back Stanley Cup wins, cementing those Penguins teams among the greatest.
So, I got to looking through the 55 or so that I selected from all those images, narrowed that down even further and realized that a massive percentage of my favorite photos I've taken of Kessel show off his various faces.
My favorite of said photos, my favorite Kessel photo I've taken overall and a photo I've hoped to replicate since taking it sits at the top of this story. The Penguins were playing the Hurricanes, dressed in the rare home whites when Kessel celebrated by tilting his head back and laughing as the crowd went completely nuts behind him.
I said that I've tried to replicate it, and I have. I've hoped for something similar to come along, from any player, but it simply hasn't. What I'm left with is a memory of Kessel from his time in Pittsburgh. A time where he won two Cups. A time where he chirped at opponents at the face off circle. A time when he had the facial diversity of Jim Carrey.
Up top is a gallery of those selections. There are a couple action shots, but I really wanted to choose a wide variety of his faces I've love to capture. See you guys and gals in the comments.