Phil Kessel knew he was done with Team USA. He knew long before he sent the infamous tweet. He knew the moment he wasn't named to Team USA while the likes of Brandon Dubinsky made it. And then he waited.
Everyone knew the process was flawed. Everyone knew the picks were awful. Phil Kessel and fellow snubs Bobby Ryan and Kyle Okposo sure knew. All that was left was to see things play out but the fates of Team USA, and former members like Kessel, were already locked in.
Phil is 28. He's far from old but in two years hockey will be played in South Korea in the Olympics. It'll likely be the first Olympics in 20 years without NHL members. Phil Kessel wasn't making that team.
In six years Olympic hockey will be played China. NHL members will likely not play in those games.
The next World Cup of Hockey is planned for 2020 with little else known about it as of yet. At 32, it's questionable whether Phil Kessel will be picked by then.
This was likely Kessel's last chance to represent his country and he knew it. When he wasn't selected he opted for surgery and to remember the good times. The times that won't get better any time soon.
Phil was done with Team USA long before he hit "Send" on Twitter but he'd still won. He won silver with Team USA at Vancouver. It's the best Team USA had finished in a while and given the words coming from Team USA management in light of another utter failure, more doubling down on their backwards process, showing their asses, saying Kessel wasn't good enough, being petulant children, it's the best they will do for a long time.
Phil Kessel had gotten all he could from Team USA. Team USA could have gotten more from Phil Kessel. He knows it and said as much with his mic drop of a tweet. One that enraged the flawed roster of players so much they promised to remember it down the road, read with as much of an eye roll as you can imagine.
Phil Kessel didn't just win the World Cup with his tweet. He beat Team USA and showed them he didn't need them anymore. Management's bitter reaction since then proves they know it, too. They've, repeatedly, proven to be losers on the biggest stage. Phil Kessel? He's good. He's a winner.