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From injury talk to trade rumors, Penguins’ Phil Kessel dismisses all drama | TribLIVE.com
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From injury talk to trade rumors, Penguins’ Phil Kessel dismisses all drama

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Phil Kessel during the first day of camp Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Phil Kessel skates during the first day of camp Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Shortly after last season ended, Penguins winger Phil Kessel was at the center of simmering drama.

On Sunday afternoon, as he addressed the media for the first time in training camp, he took each piece of potential intrigue from three or four months ago and brushed it away like a pesky insect.

On the list of people worried about issues involving Kessel, it seems Kessel himself is nowhere near the top.

A sample:

— On the injuries he played through late in the regular season and into the playoffs last year: “Everyone has injuries. I think every year, you’ve had an injury or two. Just whatever. You play.”

— On the suggestion that taking a game or two off to rest and recuperate down the stretch, thus ending his streak of 692 consecutive games played, might have made him fresher for the playoffs: “I always play. Whenever I can play, I’m going to be out there. I don’t think it makes that much of a difference.”

— On the idea that he struggled in the playoffs: “I don’t even remember. I probably had about a point a game right or something? So, it’s not that bad, is it?” (Kessel had one goal and nine points in 12 postseason games.)

— On trade rumors including his name that popped up before June’s NHL draft: “I’ve been traded a couple times, so it happens. You just move on, right?”

— On the way Penguins fans reacted, mostly in strong opposition, to reports that he might be dealt: “The fans have been great to me in my years here. We’ve had some good years here, so I love them. They’ve always been supporting. They’re great fans here.”

— On the notion that he and coach Mike Sullivan have a rocky relationship: “I think some people make issues that aren’t there. It is what it is.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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