Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Phil Kessel’s girlfriend went into labor with his first child Tuesday night. 

Kessel and his Arizona Coyotes were on the road, playing at Detroit. 

Kessel didn’t immediately rush to his girlfriend’s side. He skated a shift. That preserved his consecutive-games streak at 956, third-longest in NHL history. 

Then Kessel left the ice. He hopped on a private jet shortly thereafter. 

Father, mother and child are all fine. Congratulations, Phil. 

That anecdote is so Kessel. Lovably eccentric. 

But his consecutive-games streak doesn’t mean much. Kessel is 22 games behind the all-time leader, Philadelphia defenseman Keith Yandle. Yandle is still active, too. 

Kessel almost never absorbs a check. That’s because he rarely puts himself in harm’s way. 

Kessel never dishes out a check, either. He threw a hit of minimal impact during a Penguins playoff game in 2016 and the crowd at PPG Paints Arena reacted like he’d pulled a gun. 

Kessel basically plays no-check men’s league. He avoids all traffic. He never gives himself a chance to get hurt. 

It works for him. He’s got two Stanley Cups and 397 career goals. 

But Kessel is hardly an “iron man.” He’s not what Black Sabbath had in mind. 

He’s aluminum, maybe. Or tin. 

Arizona Coyotes v Nashville Predators

Photo: Getty Images

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