SOCHI -- Phil Kessel
has carried his red-hot play from the NHL season into the 2014 Sochi Olympics to help the United States prove its status as a gold-medal contender. With seven points in three games, the Toronto Maple Leafs right wing not only leads the Olympics in scoring, he is the front-runner for tournament MVP, according to votes cast by the four members of NHL.com's Olympic coverage team.
Kessel received 11 out of a possible 12 points, including three first-place votes, in the very unofficial ballots submitted by Arpon Basu, Corey Masisak, Shawn Roarke and Dan Rosen.
The writers ranked their top three candidates for tournament MVP as well as the best defenseman, best forward, best goalie and the most surprising player. A point system was applied with a first-place vote three points, a second-place vote two points and a third-place vote one point.
The writers also submitted the six players they think belong on the All-Tournament Team through the qualification round. Players received one point for each vote. The three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie who received the most votes made it onto the writers' All-Tournament Team after the qualification round.
Kessel received three first-place votes and one second-place vote for MVP. He was a unanimous selection to the All-Tournament team.