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Short Shifts

Kessel gets standing ovation from fans in return to Pittsburgh

Now with Coyotes, forward lauded for helping Penguins to two Cup titles in four seasons

by Dan O'Leary @DanOLeary25 / NHL.com Staff Writer

Kessel honored in return

ARI@PIT: Kessel honored in return to Pittsburgh

Phil Kessel is honored by the Penguins in his first game back in Pittsburgh

  • 01:56 •

Nice guy. Tries hard. Loved in Pittsburgh.

Arizona Coyotes forward Phil Kessel got a roaring standing ovation from the crowd at PPG Paints Arena on Friday, his first game back since being traded away by the Penguins back in June.

The Penguins played a tribute video for Kessel, highlighting some of his most memorable plays and capturing some of his quirky off-ice personality.

"I had some good years here, and some great memories. Obviously, the fans gave me a warm welcome. I love this city. I love them. They treated me great here. It was nice," Kessel said.

Kessel was a member of the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup champion Penguins.

The team's official account shared the video and a note that said "Thanks for the Cups, the laughs and the thrills."

Kessel had 303 points in 328 regular season games with the Penguins and 56 points in 65 playoff games over four seasons.

If the All-Star forward didn't know before how Penguins fans felt about him, he knows now.

"I don't think you ever know, but they were very nice to me tonight," Kessel said. "I appreciate that. I loved my time here and I love them, like I said. I got nothing but good memories."

- NHL.com independent correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report

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