As we ready our popcorn and PVRs for the debut of 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, we count down the top 10 characters on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings we’re most excited to get to know better. No. 2: Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: a look at the dynamic duo that is Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. Best buds on the Toronto Maple Leafs, this pair is so tight, they earned the nickname Bert and Ernie and even became roommates. These two not only play on the Leafs’ No. 1 line, they also share an address. Maybe they cook meals at home together, too.
Oooeeee, we can’t wait for a closer look.
Bozak has always helped shed light on Phil. When Phil is sick, it’s Tyler who fills us in on the flu symptoms. When Phil gives smile-free, eight-word answers in scrums, the media circus heads over to chat with his centreman, who’s usually good for more than eight words and a smile.
Here’s hoping with the constant presence of cameras, Bozak will help draw out a little personality from the fifth-year Leaf who goes out of his way to be bland on a daily basis.
There’s a reason Kessel and "Bozie" click, right? Finally, we’ll get to see it.
And if the cameras are always running, we’re bound to see some great off-ice Kessel moments, right?
Fact is, Phil is the owner of a sneaky personality he’s not prone to sharing with the media. Ever. The only reason we know this is courtesy of his little sister, Amanda (Phil calls her Mandy), who is, thankfully, more chatty.
A star on the American team (she’s arguably a better player than big bro Phil), Mandy says Phil is "a shit-disturber." And, she notes, they had a lot of fun growing up, flooding the garage in the winter when mom and Phil Sr. were away so they could play stick hockey and slide around. It’s good to know Phil has had fun before, because sometimes when he snipes a ridiculous goal and doesn’t smile, you have to wonder.
If Phil doesn’t open up while the cameras are around 24/7, we can at least rely heavily on his Twitter feed to inform us of his personality. His last Tweet, Oct. 1: "Really happy to be a Toronto maple leaf for the next 8 year." And his bio: "Nice guy, trys hard, loves the game. Play for the Toronto Maple Leafs".
Or, at the very least, his roommate can fill us in.