There are probably not many hockey players that find a trip to Winnipeg in the first week of February to be something to remember (let alone look forward to) however, Toronto Maple Leaf forward Phil Kessell probably won't be among them.
The long suffering Leaf forward, who found that his lack of scoring touch had spanned two seasons and made for more than enough material for hockey writers and broadcasters alike, finally got off the scoreless schneid, scoring the first goal in 313 days Thursday night at Winnipeg's MTS Centre.
It's an occasion that has been greeted as though he and Darryl Sitler were now soulmates in scoring, coming as fate would have it, on the anniversary of Sittler's much famous scoring outburst of the seventies.
Still, while not packing away the points, it is with relief that we see that the man has finally put all that bad karma behind him, having come close a few times in the last few weeks, a cross bar here, a deflection there, the pressure to finally put the puck in the net must have been enormous.
We imagine he perhaps picked up one of those Budweiser goal lights for the house, just to remember what the hell it looks like.
Leaf fans no doubt are hoping that Thursday heralds the beginning of goal after goal after goal for their winger, and most hockey fans probably share that sentiment as well.
Though maybe not in Winnipeg, Kessel's marker proved to be the game winner for the Leafs who shaded the hometown Jets 3-2, so while Kessel may always have fond memories of River City in the winter, the residents perhaps may carry a grudge.
Especially if come playoff time, the points in the standing between a playoff run or a long run watching on TV can be traced back to February 7th.
CBC-- Phil Kessel nets winner as Leafs ground Jets
CBC-- Did You See That? Phil Kessel finally scores
Toronto Star-- Phil Kessel scores, Maple Leafs rally past Jets
Toronto Sun-- Kessel's first of season lifts Leafs past Jets
National Post-- Phil Kessel ends long scoring drought with game-winner in Leafs' victory