The fallout of Phil Kessel’s masterful foray into Twitter shade continued during Thursday’s matchup between Team USA and the Czech Republic. As the boys in red, white, and blue fell 4-3 against the Czechs, fans at the Air Canada Centre began cheering “Let’s go Kessel.” The event was caught on video.
Needless to say, the players that did make the roster were unhappy.
From Yahoo Sports:
It’s unclear if the Team USA players heard the cheers since they came from high up in the stands, but if they did it they probably weren’t appreciated based on how they’ve responded to a lot of the drama surrounding Kessel the last few days.
“It’s disappointing. It’s almost to say that we were coasting or don’t care, weren’t representing our countries as well as we could have and for other guys that have worn the jersey, it’s disappointing,” Team USA forward David Backes said. “I understand there’s hard feelings if you weren’t picked for the team or if whatever, but the comments are, I think – as a team guy and as a guy that stands by my teammates, win lose or draw, it’s a little distasteful and aggravating but everyone’s got a Twitter account and you can have freedom of speech to say whatever you want and so be it. But those comments don’t get lost in the fray and those comments are there and have been read and I think will be remembered when whatever happens going forward happens going forward.”
Look, fellas, Kessel doesn’t have any bad blood with the team itself. It’s the ineptitude of management that found a bunch of bruisers that can’t shoot which drew his ire. People were going to be talking shit regardless of whether or not Phil instigated, and if you’re a hockey player who can’t take a little smack talk from another guy in the league, then you’re in the wrong line of work. Don’t knock a guy who just propelled his squad to a Cup for having a little faith in his own abilities.
Honestly, the team should be onboard with Kessel’s statement. If you think having Backes and the legend Patty Kane alone is going to get you past anyone then you’re clearly taking advantage of the NHL’s lenient stance on substance abuse. Kane’s not a pure shooter – he needs a guy that can catch and shoot, a la Jonathan Toews, to really flourish. If Ding-Dong Dean wanted to throw a bunch of meat puppets into the rink, it’s his failing for not comprehending how his team operates.
As for Phil? Let him have some fun. My mans has been getting called Fat Boy since he threw on the NHL logo and is just living it up before camp. To the rest of Team USA, we’re as disappointed as you that the tournament didn’t end better. Just remember that if you can’t take the heat, don’t step on the ice..
[via Yahoo Sports]
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