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Phil's in the Fold: Kessel Returns to Ice

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Update, September 1: Phil Kessel will appear on NESN's Red Sox pre-game show Saturday evening. The show begins at 6 p.m.

Phil Kessel is in town and is already busy as ever -- looking for a place to stay.

In the midst of finding housing for the coming season (and perhaps beyond), Kessel was heading over to NESN to shoot some spots and was dragged out the door by road roomie, Marc Savard.

I was able to track him down long enough for a short talk, during which the young forward seemed very content to return to the familiar surroundings of Ristuccia Arena and reacquaint himself with its sheet of ice.

Barely audible over the din created by hockey players, loud country music and portable fans (to dry off equipment), Kessel was all smiles as I spoke to him after his skate.

"It's good to be back," he said, contentedly.

Generally a man of few words, Kessel, who looks trim and who sports an extra layer of upper body muscle, was downright talkative today and I asked him about the possibility of staying with Savvy during the season after hearing the latter make the offer.

"Ohhhh, I don't know," said Kessel with a smile (which was understandably absent for much of last season). "I am just looking for a place, you know?

"And we'll see what happens here in the next week."

More than anything, Kessel just looked happy.

"It's nice (to be back)," said Phil, again.

As for his pastimes back in Madison, Wisconsin, Kessel mentioned that physical fitness was very, very high on the list.

"Obviously, I trained four or five times a week," explained Phil, who admitted that he also "played golf most of the time."

But it was being with the family that made the summer memorable.

"Nothing compares to home," said Kessel. "I love it there, going home to see everyone."

And physically, everything is fine?

"Everything is good. I am feeling good," said Phil, reassuringly. "I lost some weight, but I bulked up, too.

"And I am ready to go this year and hopefully I have a better year than last year."

Are the playoffs a possibility, Mr. Kessel?

Phil, suddenly serious, said that they were a distinct possibility.

"I think we have a good team," he said, earnestly. "We just have to put it together."

From the attitudes I've seen over the last couple of days, and improved physiques of some of the Bruins best players, it looks as if a couple of pieces to that winning puzzle are already in place.
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