It’s not lost on Canucks fans, at least those that are still watching the playoffs that their number two centre for the last few years is thriving in the middle of the second line for the Anaheim Ducks.
Jim Benning’s hands were tied a year ago. He had a guy that wanted to go to Disneyland. In return, Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa as well as 2014 draft picks Jared McCann and Keegan Iverson were traded for RK17.
The year away from the post-season and perhaps living in Southern California has reinvigorated Ryan Kesler.
He has contributed at both ends of the ice in series wins over Winnipeg and Calgary. The Livonia lamplighter has five goals and five assists in 13 games while being at his pesky best as he leads Anaheim in penalty minutes in the playoffs.
Some say the 30-year-old is playing his best hockey, dare I say it Torts, since the 2011 Canucks series versus Nashville
Thus far, the first four games of the Western Conference final has highlighted the match-up between the Hawks Captain Serious, Jonathan Toews and No-Kidding Around Kesler. It has been a battle.
Kesler, like all players is better when he skates with confidence. The one thing Coach Bruce Boudreau might want Kesler to dial back, is his confidence with the media.
Kesler opened the series saying Chicago is “A good team, fast team. A beatable team, though.”
The series is 2-2 and now the ex-Canuck mumbled the Ducks are not going to change their game and they will continue to pound the Hawks top four defenceman saying “no human can take that many hits.”
The Ducks have home ice advantage, but the Blackhawks have 14 wins and zero losses in game 5’s and 6’s since 2009.
Perhaps Ryan should zip it. I’m sure the Ranger or Bolts will appreciate the Ducks softening up Chicago’s D-corps.