BOSTON (CBS) — The three words “Thank you, Kessel” have come to mean so much in the city of Boston in the past few years.
The cheer/jeer first came in a game between the Maple Leafs and Bruins on Oct. 28, 2010. In the second period, Tyler Seguin scored his first goal in Boston, and after the home crowd partook in the normal celebration, the 17,000-plus in attendance decided to thank Kessel for netting the Bruins the draft pick that they ended up using to draft Seguin.
After that night, the chorus of thanks came back many times, though it wasn’t repeated too often this season, even though Dougie Hamilton (also drafted with a pick from the Kessel trade) had himself a more-than-decent rookie year.
As far as the upcoming playoff series between the Maple Leafs and Bruins goes, the chants could make a triumphant return to the TD Garden if Seguin scores another goal. For now, Kessel isn’t worried about it.
“It’s fine,” Kessel said of Boston fans’ potential jeers. “I had great years there. I loved the city, fans were great to me there, and it’s part of the game.”
Kessel drew plenty of attention in Toronto for refusing to speak to the media on Monday, so he begrudgingly spoke for a little more than a minute on Tuesday. He made sure to downplay any significance of playing against his former team.
“It’s been four years now. That’s a long time, right?” Kessel said. “It’s another game. It’s an important game for us, another chance to prove ourselves here.”