Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rick Kessell

Rick Kessell got his NHL career off to a fantastic start. He scored on his very first shift, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 1-0 lead just 2:19 into a March 21st, 1970 game against Chicago.

Unfortunately Kessell would only score 3 more goals in 134 more NHL games over parts of 5 NHL seasons, 4 with the Penguins and 1 with the Golden Seals of California infamy. I guess it probably didn't help that he missed training camp in his second NHL season due to an off-season water skiing mishap that broke his ankle.

Kessell was a junior stand out and was drafted two spots ahead of the great Bobby Clarke. But at the NHL level Kessell quickly became a 4th line player who killed penalties.

Walt McKechnie, Kessell's teammate in California, said "Kess was another guy with good skills but with us young guys he was easily distracted. He was a real free spirit.

In 135 NHL games Rick Kessell scored 4 goals and 28 points. 

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