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Kessel starts rehab stint with AHL Providence @NHLdotcom

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -Boston Bruins rookie Phil Kessel started a brief conditioning stint in the AHL on Friday night, one month after surgery to treat testicular cancer.

Kessel saw action on three lines and played on special teams during the Providence Bruins' 2-1 loss to Worcester.

"I felt good, my body felt fine," said Kessel, the No. 5 pick in last year's NHL draft. "I was in better shape playing during the season, but what can you do? I was resting and got back here ... and worked hard to get back in shape."

Kessel is expected to be recalled by the Bruins after Providence plays at Manchester on Saturday and at home against Springfield on Sunday, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said.

"At just 19 years old and in his first season in the NHL, it would be difficult for Phil to come right back to Boston in the middle of the season, after being off the ice for a month," Chiarelli said. "These few games in Providence will help Phil readjust to the speed of the NHL so that he is ready to join Boston on Monday morning."

Kessel already got positive feedback from Providence coach Scott Gordon.

"I've got to think he felt relatively good because he was up and down the ice all night," Gordon said.

Kessel learned he had testicular cancer shortly before playing in a Dec. 9 game against New Jersey. He underwent surgery three days later to remove his right testicle.

"I couldn't believe it," Kessel said last month. "It was tough. I had a hard time with it."

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