Kessel hasn't missed a game in three years, so playing through an injury is considered old hat for the veteran right winger - but that steak could possibly come to an end on Saturday, as the Toronto Star is reporting that Kessel was absent from Friday's practice, fueling speculation that he's dealing with a rumored right wrist injury.
Certainly there was no indication of any issue during the Leafs' 3-2 overtime win over Dallas, Kessel logging two helpers in nearly 22 minutes of ice time as Toronto ended a five game skid.
Speculation and rumor began on Wednesday when Kessel reportedly told coach Randy Carlyle that he didn't feel right and hastily retreated to the locker room.
He said he’d had enough of practice and he said he didn’t feel good in one area of his body so we let him go. He had a little tweak. - Toronto Maple Leafs' coach Randy Carlyle
Hobbled forward Joffrey Lupul also left the practice early on Wednesday and did not play against the Stars, but was on the ice on Friday and may be available for the Leafs when they travel to Ottawa on Saturday. Also, injured defenseman Cody Franson played on Thursday night and was a participant in Friday's skate.
The team called up right winger Jerry D’Amigo, and he took Kessel’s place on the first line in practice alongside James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri, adding momentum to the speculation that Kessel's injury may cause his games-played streak to be in jeopardy.