The question asked repeatedly during the selection process for Team USA’s World Cup roster was, “Where’s Phil Kessel?”
The Pittsburgh Penguins winger, who had a serious claim to the Conn Smythe Trophy this past post-season, didn’t make the American team as part of the initial 16-man roster, wasn’t one of the final additions to the club after his outstanding 10-goal, 22-point playoff and he wasn’t even added to the club as an injury replacement when Ryan Callahan needed off the team to see to an injury.
Kessel’s absence was strange given the post-season he had, but stranger yet considering his team-leading five goals and eight points at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which saw him voted the tournament’s best forward. It would have seemed he was exactly the type of player USA would’ve wanted on their roster.
So, where was Phil Kessel? Well, after Team USA’s 4-2 defeat at the hands of Team Canada, a loss that eliminated the American side from trophy contention, Kessel let everyone know exactly where he was and exactly what he wasn’t doing.
Kessel’s jab at being snubbed by the World Cup team blew up on Twitter, and as of this writing it has more than 55,000 retweets and has been favorited 72,000-plus times. But Kessel’s tongue-in-cheek statement about his plans for Tuesday evening helps clear up speculation about one reason Kessel wasn’t named to the team and begs further question why he wasn’t a part of the team.
Following the post-season, Kessel went under the knife to repair a hand injury that had reportedly bothered him throughout the past campaign — he has since said it was a bone chip — and some believed that his pre-existing injury was why Kessel wasn’t named to the World Cup roster. One can surmise from his response to Team USA being ousted from the tournament that being left off due to injury wasn’t quite the case.
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