Kessel looking forward to rebound for Coyotes in Cup qualifier


Phil Kessel said he is looking forward to bouncing back from his least productive season since 2015-16, when the Arizona Coyotes face the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“Obviously, I had a tough year,” said the striker after skating with his teammates at Gila River Arena on Tuesday. “I had, I think this is probably my biggest injury I have had this year, but that is no excuse. It’s one of those years. Obviously, I’m going to try to never have that again. I’ve never had a year like this, so I’m looking to bounce back. Now is a good time to start again. “The 32-year-old scored six times 30 goals but struggled in his first season with the Coyotes. he had 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists) in 70 games before the end of the NHL season on March 12 due to concerns about the coronavirus. Kessel scored 82 points (27 goals, 55 assists) for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.

His 38 points were his weakest since he had collected 59 points (26 goals, 33 assists) in 82 games with the Penguins in 2015-2016, while he had collected 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 24 games Stanley Cup playoffs to help them. win the cup.

” I think [playoff experience] “Said Kessel.” I think the guys who have been there know what to expect and what to do. I think to be honest, it’s a different level of hockey. It’s a faster, sharper game. It’s a fun time of year. ”

Kessel, who was traded by the Penguins for the Coyotes on June 29, 2019, did not miss a game for Arizona during the regular season and said he felt cool before training camp. Camps are scheduled to open on July 10 as part of phase 3 of the NHL return to play plan, provided medical and safety conditions allow, and the NHL and the NHL Players Association are agreement on resumption of play. Duration of training camp and start date for resumption of play (phase 4), as well as the two main cities – one for the 12 participating teams of the Conference East and one for the 12 Western Conference teams – will be determined.

“I’m feeling great right now,” said Kessel, who has 77 points (33 goals, 44 assists) in 87 playoff games. “I feel better than I have done all year, so I’m excited. My body feels good, I feel rested. I will be ready to go. ”

The Coyotes are 33-29-8 (0.529 percentage points) in the regular season and will advance to qualifying as a No. 11 seed in the West. They will face the No. 6 seed, the Predators (35-26-8, .565), in one of the best eight streaks of 5, with the winners qualifying for the playoffs.

Arizona has finished with the highest point percentage in six seasons (0.543 in 2013-14) and hopes to reach the playoffs for the first time in eight.

Kessel, who quarantined himself at his Florida home and returned to Arizona three weeks ago, said he hoped the time spent could prove beneficial.

“Yeah, it could be. I think it could be really positive for us, ”said Kessel. “I think everyone’s excited, and we’re going to be ready. We have a good young core, and all the guys are looking forward to it. ”

“We will have to get started right away. It’s going to be a different final than ever before, obviously. I think without fans and everything, it’s going to be strange, but I think the guys know what they are playing We all want to have a chance to win. I think it’s going to be interesting. We have camp to prepare and try to get started. I don’t know how many exhibition or preseason games we’re going to have, but I think the team that gets started the quickest and who can get in shape and play well, I think ‘she has a big advantage. ”


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