PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Penguins forward Phil Kessel has been known for one thing throughout his career, scoring goals, but he hasn’t done that at the rate many expected this year.
Penguins historian Bob Grove joined The Starkey and Mueller Show to talk about Kessel and his lack of production.
“I expected a lot more,” Grove said about Kessel’s 20 goals in 66 games played. “If he can score 25 goals with the worst team in the league last season in Toronto, you surround him with better talent in a better situation, a winning situation, you expect more from him.”
Grove added that if Kessel isn’t scoring, he doesn’t offer you much else.
“Here’s the things about his 20 goals. He doesn’t add anything else. This is not a guy who wins battles along the boards. This is not a guy who pressures guys on the forecheck and takes the puck off them. This is not a guy who is killing himself on the backcheck. You get none of that. So the one thing he does in his career in the National Hockey League is finish, score goals. So I can live with that other stuff if he’s giving you what you want from him, which is more goals. You’re not getting it, 20 is not enough. He’s not a factor on the power play and he’s just missed so many great chances at some critical portions of games that just makes you shake your head.”
With just three power play goals on the season, Grove said he wouldn’t blame the Pens if they decided to pull him off the top unit.
“He’s got three power play goals, and the lowest total in his career is when he was a rookie in Boston he had one. He had 8 each of the last couple of years in Toronto. I would have zero problem taking him off the power play,” Grove said.
Click the audio link below to hear more from Grove about the Phil Kessel problem the Pens have and also discusses the Pens needing to do more to protect Sidney Crosby.