By all accounts, the 2012 NHL All-Star Game was as lackluster and prosaic as professional hockey gets. But the weekend's most anticipated subplot—at least among the people of Boston and Toronto—added an entertaining element to an otherwise boring contest.
Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin, two players that will forever be intertwined, skated on the same line on Sunday, creating a combination that stirred up a lot of talk throughout the league. They were made linemates (likely out of sheer humor) by Bruins coach Claude Julien, who was also the coach of Team Chara.
“I thought that this was a great opportunity to put those guys together,’’ said Julien. “The fact is that Tyler could play center. So why not put him with Phil? This is not about wars or people competing. It’s about having fun with it.’’
While neither played spectacularly—at least by All-Star Game standards—it was still nice to see the two on the same line: skating together, passing together, working together.
Kessel registered a goal and two assists in the Midseason Classic, while Seguin had just one assist. Both contributed to Joffrey Lupul's goal 15:33 into the third period.
Seguin, 19, was acquired by the Bruins second overall in the 2010 Entry Draft, a selection that originally belonged to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Leafs GM Brian Burke surrendered that pick to Boston when he took Kessel from the B's in a blockbuster deal that has remained as controversial as any in recent history.
Since the trade between Toronto and Boston took place in 2008, fans and experts alike have spent the past five years debating who came out on top. Initially it seemed as if the Bruins got the better end of the trade, as Seguin helped Boston to their first Stanley Cup since 1978 and has become one of the league's most promising young talents.
Did you enjoy seeing Kessel and Seguin together on Sunday?
But now Phil Kessel has emerged as one of the premier goal scorers in the NHL, racking up 26 goals and 25 assists thus far in the 2011-12 season.
But putting the trade aside—and all the arguments that accompany it—it was fun to watch Seguin and Kessel as teammates, if only for the irony and comicality that ensued.
And even though the only time we'll likely ever see them wearing the same uniform will come on All-Star weekends, it's always nice to take a break from the competitive and grueling regular season, sit back and have a good laugh over something that has given so many fans so much grief.