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“How’s your breath?” asked NBC analyst Pierre McGuire of Phil Kessel, whose Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday night.
“It’s not good, eh?” was the now-legendary response, as the Penguins’ everyman/leading scorer wrongly assumed that McGuire was asking about his actual breath and not whether or not he was still catching it after a fast-paced game.
“No, I meant in terms of conditioning,” clarified McGuire.
And with that, one of the single funniest moments of the NHL season had been cemented.
Now, knowing NHL players, there was zero chance this moment with Kessel wasn’t going to be acknowledged in the Penguins’ locker room.
So when Kessel arrived in the dressing room in Tampa this afternoon, his linemates Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin decided to place a bottle of Listerine in his locker room stall. There were packets of mint gum around his locker, too:
"These guys, they don't miss much,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. “So when they have opportunities to have some fun with one another, I think that's a good thing. I think it brings our team even closer together, and that's an example of it. But for me, that's just another indication that our guys are really embracing this moment and embracing this challenge.”
Hagelin was asked if Kessel, in fact, has kickin’ breath, as he seemed to admit on television.
“No, that was just a bad question by Pierre,” Hagelin said.
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