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Penguins GM: Phil Kessel's injuries caught up to him in playoffs

Jonathan Bombulie
| Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 2:06 p.m.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby makes a save on the Penguins' Phil Kessel in the first period during Game 6 on Monday, May 7, 2018, at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby makes a save on the Penguins' Phil Kessel in the first period during Game 6 on Monday, May 7, 2018, at PPG Paints Arena.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan and general manager Jim Rutherford both admitted Wednesday that Phil Kessel was playing with some bumps and bruises in the playoffs.

They differed in how forthcoming they were about how much those injuries affected the star winger's play.

Kessel had a career year in the regular season, posting 34 goals and a personal best 92 points in 82 games. He finished tied for seventh in the league in scoring. Noticeably slowed in the playoffs, he recorded one goal and nine points in 12 postseason games.

"He's actually dealt with injuries all year, and to his credit, he played through those during the regular season, but his playoff was not what it has been the last couple of years," Rutherford said. "I know some of those things he dealt with caught up with him."

Rutherford said Kessel would not require any offseason surgery.

Oftentimes, players often open up about the nature and severity of their injuries after their postseasons end and the shroud of playoff secrecy lifts.

The Penguins didn't do that as they cleaned out their lockers Wednesday morning.

Kessel and Evgeni Malkin, who was dealing with a left knee injury in the playoffs, did not speak to reporters. Derick Brassard confirmed he was playing through an injury, but declined to offer any other specifics.

Sullivan was largely mum.

"I'm not going to disclose any of our injuries," he said. "(Kessel) was dealing with bumps and bruises, just like some of our other guys. I'd rather not get into the list of injuries that guys had, but it was nothing significant, I can tell you that."

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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