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Phil Kessel is Ready to Play, OK with IronMan Streak Ending

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Phil kessel

Phil Kessel is coming off his 17th NHL season, one in which he became the NHL IronMan by passing former Florida defenseman Keith Yandle.

Only Kessel does not, at least right now, have a place to play this coming season.

According to Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, Kessel is OK with ending the IronMan streak — meaning, he is cool not playing every night — which should make it more appealing for a team to offer him at least a PTO for training camp.

With the way the Florida Panthers are situated, it does not look like Kessel would be a fit although there is a chance.

Kessel, who turns 36 today, is a three-time Stanley Cup champion although he only played in four playoff games with the Vegas Golden Knights this past postseason.

Those games do not affect his IronMan streak which is at 1,064 consecutive games. He surpassed Yandle back in November.

Kessel could return to Vegas where he is a very popular part of the team and was effective at times, scoring 14 goals with 36 points in his 82 games played.

A reunion with the Boston Bruins, meanwhile, does not appear likely.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW

Well, summer is almost over and when it comes to the NHL, it is almost time to get going.

The Panthers will be officially back on the ice in less than three weeks as training camp is expected to open on Sept. 20. We also have rookie camp and the Estero Showcase to come.

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Where does NHL.com have the Panthers ranked going into this season?

— Two years ago, the Panthers did not have a single game scheduled for national television. This year? Seven games will be on either TNT, ESPN or ABC — and that is just to start. More could be added down the road depending on how things go.

Five more are going to be exclusively streamed on ESPN+/Hulu which, sorry, I do not count as ‘nationally televised.’ ESPN+ streams most every game in the NHL as it is, these ones just will have their announcers and won’t be available anywhere else. Including most sports bars and restaurants which do not have streaming setups.

— We know it is way to early to start breaking down who may be on the Florida Panthers when training camp breaks but, hey, why not?

Here is our take on who starts the season on the Florida 23-man roster.

Matt Kiersted will be in the thick of the fight for a spot.

— Florida has signed a number of key players to good-looking contracts over the past few seasons but the work never stops. Who is the next key player Bill Zito locks up?

— The Panthers are heading back to Miami as their first two big fan events to kick off their 30th season will be in Little Havana and Hialeah.

— The changes to Florida’s fourth line this season start with Kevin Stenlund, although they may not stop there.

— The fifth Amerigol LATAM Cup wrapped up at the IceDen in Coral Springs on Sunday and the event continues to grow each and every year.

NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

The Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group has bought AT&T Sportsnet and will rebrand it as Sportsnet Pittsburgh.

The folks who run NESN will also run this network — and the Pens will have a new broadcast crew this season.

— Taking a look at how things roll during draft day with the Montreal Canadiens.

— Broward’s own Shayne Gostibehere is now a member of the Detroit Red Wings and reflects on his time with the Philadelphia Flyers.

— The New Jersey Devils are not going to rush 2022 first-round pick Simon Nemec.

— The Nashville Predators have some juice now that Barry Trotz is back.

Jonathan Drouin is for a fresh start with the Colorado Avalanche.

Prospect Kevin Korchinski should be penciled into opening night lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks opening night lineup.

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

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