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Phil Kessel Has Rotator Cuff, Labrum Surgery, Could Miss 6 Months

May 21, 2009 – 6:00 PM
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Adam Gretz

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The Boston Bruins had their season come to a somewhat unexpected end in the second round of the NHL playoffs by losing in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes a little over a week ago. While the 2009-10 season has yet to begin, the Bruins have already suffered their first (potential) loss as forward Phil Kessel recently had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum. According to WBZ in Boston, the surgery could keep him on the shelf for as long as six months.

Assuming he misses that much time, he would be back on the ice sometime around the end of November or early December.

Kessel, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft out of the University of Minnesota, had a career-year for the Bruins this season, leading the team with 36 goals despite playing in just 70 games. He's improved every year he's been in the league, while he also was tied for the team-lead with six goals during the postseason. Through the first three years of his career, Kessel has scored more goals (66) than any other player taken during the 2006 NHL entry draft.

Kessel opened the postseason with a bang, scoring four goals (to go along with two assists) in the Bruins' four-game sweep of Montreal, before slumping against the Hurricanes. In the seven-game series he was credited with two goals (both in game 5) and three assists.

Just as a point of reference, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier had labrum surgery prior to this season with a recovery time of 12-15 weeks. While Lecavalier's procedure didn't keep him out of the lineup during the regular season, he did have his worst individual season (statistically) since the lockout, while having his lowest goal output (29) since the 2001-02 season.

The question now becomes: will Kessel's recovery even be an issue for the Bruins? The 21-year-old forward is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason, while he could also be dangled as trade bait as Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald recently pointed out, .
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