The Elbow staff
PITTSBURGH, PA – Newly acquired forward Phil Kessel has been ruled out of the first month of the regular season due to a smile-related injury.
It is believed that the 27-year-old picked up the injury shortly after arriving in Pittsburgh earlier this week.
"Phil's been dealing with some tightness in his neck and face area since early July," Penguins media relations coordinator Jay Price said.
"The severity increased earlier this week when he arrived in Pittsburgh to very little fanfare or media attention."
Chief surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC), Holden Caulfield, said that the procedure to remove the smile was a difficult one.
"We're not taking this surgery lightly," he said. "Phil has suffered a serious bout of Luckius Bastardis, and will require intense monitoring over the two to three weeks following the procedure."
It is believed that the injury worsened when Kessel took his first press conference and was not quizzed by the journalists in attendance about his relationship with his head coach.
Toronto centre Tyler Bozak said that Kessel looked more relaxed than ever in the footage he saw.
"It was the first press conference I've seen him give that he wasn't sweating the whole way through," Bozak said. "It's as if he had time to think about the question and not worry about the consequences."
When reached for comment, Kessel said that the opportunity he had in Pittsburgh was "great" before breaking out in maniacal laughter.