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It was his first skate in Abbotsford, give Phil Kessel a break: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
4 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discuss the latest from Abbotsford regarding Phil Kessel’s first skate with the club.
The discussion comes on the heels of a post on Twitter highlighting Kessel appearing to be out of breath during his skate.
Speculation quickly spread on whether or not Kessel would be able to get himself into game shape.
The guys got to work quickly, explaining why they believe this is a non-issue.
“Unless you’re watching the entire session, you don’t know how hard he’s being pushed,” said Harm. “If you’re the development staff, why would you not push him to his limit? Plenty of times after the Canucks come back after their offseason and do their first day of training camp, guys are gasping. I remember Conor Garland’s first day of training camp with the Canucks; he was having a lot of trouble, as was Oliver Ekman-Larsson in his first year. I’m not concerned about how Kessel looks in his first skate; it’s how he is going to ramp up. I trust the coaching staff to make the right decision on whether he’s fit.”
“There’s a difference between being doubled over and trying to catch your breath and lying on the ice like Olli Juolevi did,” added Quads. “There’s nothing like actually going to camp; this is what we see every time it’s the first day of training camp; we see guys doing what Kessel is doing. It’s not a story. It’s a story because people want it to be one, and they want to pick apart Phil Kessel and all this stuff. It’s insane to me. I’m looking at this and saying, ‘Troy Stecher puked every year at training camp, and it was endearing.’ Nobody questioned if he was ready or not; guys are doubled over all the time on the first day of camp.”
“He’s been off for ten months,” said head coach Rick Tocchet during an interview with the Chiclets Altcast. “The thing with Phil, he’s a freak. He can do a lot of things; he’s a sports freak. I don’t know where he’s in shape, I know the one thing he can pass the puck. We’ll see where it goes. The first phase here is the next four or five days to see where he’s at physically.”
Quads noted how the Canucks’ management seems to be taking it day-by-day and not throwing themselves fully onboard the Kessel train.
“Tocchet loves Phil Kessel, still didn’t want to commit,” noted Quads. “They’re not committing to anything; they’re going to see how he’s doing and how he progresses. There’s no reason to jump to conclusions or start dissecting this skate, which we’re starting to do a little bit. I’m just saying this is nothing. This doesn’t matter; he’s going to be fine. And if he’s not, I trust Canucks management enough to realize he’s not in game shape.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below:

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