"Fuck you, what the fuck are you yellin at me for?"
Look, I'm not saying that a ring on Phil Kessel's finger transformed him into a totally different person. After all, he only won a Stanley Cup. It's not like he married it or something. He's still the same sheepish guy who has the appearance of 45 year old man whose mid-life crisis became a mid-life acceptance, and whose play is still somehow underappreciated. He's just got a bit more of an edge now. He achieved the game's ultimate goal and with it came a confidence that is generally reserved for a teenager poppin' his first cherry. I don't think it makes him any more or less lovable, but Phil Kessel is no longer a suspiciously uneasy pushover. No longer will he be getting bitched at by his Captain who probably stole his Conn Smythe award and definitely wouldn't have a second championship without him. No longer will he find himself in cringeworthy conversations about his breath with some obnoxiously overeager analysts. This may sound strange being that he's a 29 year old professional athlete, but our hot dog-loving (don't care if that story is false or not) boy is finally becoming a man and I couldn't be more proud. The raising of the best trophy in professional sports pushed him right on through the end of his awkward phase, and it's genuinely enjoyable to watch him do adult shit like stand up for himself and refuse to give in to every bald annoyance that tries to demand his attention. I don't know what else he has up his sleeve, but hopefully it involves emasculating Mike Milbury.
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