Last night, Phil Kessel continued his ascension as the most likable player in the NHL.
During NBCSN’s Rivalry Night game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders, analyst Pierre McGuire, who is known for getting in the faces of players, tried to talk with Kessel on the bench. Watch McGuire’s awkward attempt to chat with Kessel be completely dismissed.
Just when you thought you couldn’t love Phil Kessel any more than you already do… pic.twitter.com/eQ3JvBlbV3
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 1, 2016
That’s uncomfortable. McGuire tries to pivot his attention behind Kessel, in an attempt to cover up the failed interview, but clearly, he swung and missed at talking with the Penguins sniper.
There’s a history between the two. Back when Kessel was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, McGuire had the audacity to tell him and Tyler Bozak that goals were fun, while standing next to them on the bench.
More famously, McGuire (again awkwardly) asked Kessel last year how his breath was. Kessel’s laughter-filled reaction was funny. The two joked about the question, and Kessel ended the interview with “I can’t believe that.”
It’s possible, and even likely, Kessel saw McGuire nearing him on the bench and didn’t want to talk to him. I don’t blame him. McGuire’s goofy, encyclopedic knowledge on the sidelines has its place in broadcasts, but unless players agree to interviews beforehand, attempting to get one during live action shouldn’t be met with a response. Kessel wanted to focus on the game. God bless McGuire’s attempt, it made for entertaining TV.