PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel might be making a run at the Conn Smythe Trophy this spring, with nine goals and nine assists in 18 Stanley Cup Playoff games, but he was left off Team USA for the World Cup of Hockey, which will be held Sept. 17 through Oct. 1 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
"Obviously you're always disappointed, but it is what it is," Kessel said Sunday ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). "I think I've had a pretty good playoffs and I've always done pretty well for them in all the tournaments I've played for them.
Video: See what Kessel had to say to the media
"But we're in the Stanley Cup Final, so I can't be too disappointed."
Kessel previously played in two Olympics for the United States, including in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, where he had a team-leading eight points (five goals, three assists).
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who will represent Canada at the World Cup, said he expected Kessel to make the U.S. roster when its final seven players were announced Friday.
"I was a little bit [surprised], to see down the stretch how he played for us, the playoff that he had, I just got so used to seeing him on the team for so long, especially seeing him as a teammate and what he's done for us, I definitely expected him to be on the team," Crosby said.
Team USA filled out its final seven roster spots with forwards David Backes (St. Louis Blues), Ryan Callahan (Tampa Bay Lightning), Brandon Dubinsky (Columbus Blue Jackets), and James van Riemsdyk (Toronto Maple Leafs). They also added three defensemen: Matt Niskanen (Washington Capitals), Jack Johnson (Blue Jackets) and Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche).