Tonight’s game between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights promises to be a fun one due to the bitter rivalry between the two. That said, the far bigger story heading into this game revolves around Phil Kessel, as the 35-year-old veteran is set to break the NHL’s all-time iron man streak.
The 35-year-old Kessel, who signed a one-year deal in Vegas this offseason, is set to suit up for the 990th consecutive game of his NHL career, passing Keith Yandle who set the record himself just a season ago. It is an incredible feat, especially given the fact that Kessel isn’t exactly known for being in the best of shape compared to his peers. According to his United States National Team Development Program and now San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn, his love for Skittles may have something to do with his build.
“Well, when you’ve got a Skittles diet, it’s tough to have a great body,” Quinn joked when asked about Kessel’s unusual frame for a pro athlete. “He’s been on a Skittles diet since he was 16.”
Funny enough, this isn’t the first time Quinn has joked about Kessel’s love for Skittles.
“The last thing he wants to do is talk to 40 people standing around with microphones. He’d rather go out and play video games and eat Skittles,” Quinn said…in 2011.
The two developed a tight bond during their time spent together during the 2003-04 season with the USNTDP U-18 team, where Quinn served as the head coach. Similar to now, Kessel’s conditioning has never been what you would expect from an NHL player, particularly one who is about to become the NHL’s newest iron man.
That said, Quinn doesn’t share the same level of surprise as many that Kessel is set to break the current iron man streak. Having been able to spend time with him on a daily basis several years ago, he was able to see things that many don’t realize when it comes to the American born winger.
“No, because he’s a smart player,” Quinn said when asked if he was surprised by Kessel’s accomplishment. “Smart players are competitive. Johnny Gaudreau is a perfect example; Johnny Gaudreau is a small guy, but he’s smart, right? He understands how to create contact and how to avoid it at the right time. Phil has mastered that.”
While Quinn remains a major fan of Kessel’s game, however, he and his San Jose Sharks players are hoping to pick up their third win of the season tonight. It certainly won’t be an easy task as the Golden Knights own a Western Conference best 5-2-0 record, though you can bet neither team makes it easy on one another given their intense rivalry.
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