As the Washington Capitals and the rest of the league gear up for the 2022-23 campaign, free agents continue to find their new homes. Phil Kessel did just that on Wednesday night, signing a one-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights.
And, now that Phil the Thrill is with the Golden Knights and moving on from Arizona, he had some strong — well, even harsh — words for the Coyotes.
“When you get a chance to play on a good team that wants to win, you’re always looking forward to it,” Kessel told reporters. “Over the last couple years, you get lost here [in Arizona], and people don’t view you anymore like you used to be viewed. And I don’t think that’s the case. I’m very motivated to come in here and help this team and try to contend. I’m very motivated, and I think I’m going to have a great year.”
The 34-year-old had just eight goals last season but shined with 44 assists for 52 points in 82 games with the last-place Coyotes. Setting a couple of tough seasons with Arizona aside, Kessel has been a consistent, proven 20-goal scorer. He wants to bring that to Vegas.
He also alluded to the struggling Coyotes’ mentality and how missing out on the playoffs weighed heavy on him.
“When you want to win, and everyone on the team want to win, it’s a different feeling, a different vibe. Arizona, they had great guys. All the players, they’re great kids. And a lot of good people there. But when you don’t want to necessarily win and contend, it becomes difficult as a player. Especially when you came from Pittsburgh, and I wanted to win.”
Kessel will now look to bring a winning mentality to the Golden Knights, who missed the playoffs last year.
Here are all the latest news and notes from D.C. and across the NHL:
Washington Capitals Links
- Speaking of ugly truths about former teams, Andre Burakovsky told all in his introductory press conference with the Seattle Kraken and said that he felt he was living “in the shadow” of Capitals and Avalanche stars during his time with both clubs. (WHN)
- From Igor Shesterkin to Ondrej Palat, here are just a few big names that Washington could have had but missed out on due to some strange circumstances. (WHN)
- The World Cup of Hockey is coming back in 2024, but Alex Ovechkin and other Russians may not have a country to represent. (WHN)
- Kirby Dach and the Canadiens are working on a new deal as the team rings in a new era. Montreal Canadiens (MHN)
- The Islanders missed out on quite a few big-name free agents, but Lou Lamoriello still believes that the team has good pieces to put around Mat Barzal. New York Islanders (NYIHN)
- Is Mike Babcock closing in on a return to the NHL? Detroit Red Wings (DHN)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Shane Gersich has a home for the 2022-23 season. He inked a one-year deal with the AHL’s Hershey Bears and will play there again this season.
- Dmitry Orlov has returned to Washington safely for the start of the Capitals season after spending the offseason in Russia.
- Happy birthday to my mom, Patty Silber, an absolute inspiration. Here’s an article I wrote about her and how she influenced my life in hockey.