For a moment, imagine that you are Phil Kessel. You're not the most attractive man, but you're one of the best wingers in the entire NHL (and world), and you're making $5.4M this season, the last year of your contract. The last two seasons you've finished 6th and 8th in points in the leagues, you've been on pace for 30 or more goals for 5 straight seasons. You're about to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time, and you might be the best player since Kovalchuk to hit that market.
In a preseason game, a 6'8" skating bear with absolutely zero hockey talent flips out because of actions not taken by you, drops his gloves, and comes right at you. What do you do? Do you turtle? Well this idiot named John Scott looks to be in a blind range, how many punches can he get off while you're down before your team can stop him?
What if he breaks your jaw? What if he ragdolls you and separates your shoulder? What if because of that injury you struggle, and you never hit the giant payday that looked absolutely certain up to this point?
If you are Phil Kessel, do you slash for the ankle? If it's me, I go for the idiot's face. End it right there. A large portion of fans, fans of not-the-Leafs in particular, are freaking out at Kessel because he slashed Scott after other players had a hold of him.
We are literally talking about a talentless scrub going after one of the league's perennial all-stars, he's lucky Kessel didn't slash him in the face or throat and really try to hurt him. Personally I praise Kessel for showing restraint.
And the best part? When Kessel got jumped right after by Brian Flynn? He pounded his face and opened him up. I have more respect for Kessel today than I did yesterday. Go Phil.
If you were Phil Kessel, what would you have done?
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I'd have done the exact same thing.
Turtle and hope for the best.
Try even harder to hurt Scott.