May 31, 2011 17 Comments
Update: June 17 — It has been reported following the Stanley Cup Finals that Ryan Kesler played through a torn groin and torn hip labrum.
The city of Vancouver is in a state of bliss. Nothing else matters to anyone right now. School, work, love, the NBA finals? Nope, everyone is talking Canucks.
It has been 17 years since the Canucks have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and 40 long years without ever having won a Cup. This will be the first time in three appearances that they will go in as favourites.
The biggest buzz around town is the seemingly inevitable return of 3rd line center and one of the best faceoff men in the league. Manny Malhotra was deemed out for the season in March when lost his vision in his left eye after puck hit him square in the eye. His status has now shifted from” a return this season would be miraculous” to “cleared to play in game 1.”
It’s euphoria in Vancouver.
They say that ignorance is bliss. That phrase couldn’t ring truer for Canuck fans right about now.
News flash for Canuck fans: Ryan Kesler, your Selke and Conn Smythe candidate, is still injured. He most likely pulled a muscle in game 5 against the Sharks and after the injury, despite scoring the all-important tying goal, was moving more like a wounded soldier than a hockey player. A wounded soldier with a rifle.
Virtually all Canuck related news is overshadowing his injury and I can’t understand why. Whether people are talking Malhotra’s imminent return, Luongo’s game 5 brilliance or just taking in the Sedinery, Ryan Kesler’s injury is only being mentioned in passing.
The injury is cause for concern. He pulled one of those vulnerable muscles. The muscles that need time to heal. The muscles that re-injure most easily when you come back too early from them.
Kesler may have scored the tying goal in game 5 but aside from that he was simply a liability on the ice following his injury. He couldn’t fight for the pucks on the board, needed excessively wide turns to build up any speed and could not keep up with the pace of a Conference Final game 5.
Kesler looked helpless at times. Even with the 8 day lay-off I can’t imagine that he will be 100% healthy.
It’s the NHL playoffs though. You need to have one of your limbs falling off to keep you out of a game. It isn’t heroic to play on an injury, it is expected.
Ryan Kesler’s status for game 1 isn’t the question because we all know that he will suit up. This is a matter of Kesler being able to play anywhere near the level that he has this post-season.
Too many people are complaining about the long layoff and how the Canucks have lost any advantage that they gained from finishing off San Jose in 5. If anything, the Canucks should be thanking their lucky stars that NBC decided to play Wednesday. I’m sure Ryan Kesler is.
By the time game 1 rolls around Ryan Kesler won’t be able to play with his usual reckless abandonment. The thought of re-injuring that leg will be weighing on his mind. Contrary to popular belief, Ryan Kesler is not Superman.
It will be near impossible for Kesler to match the physicality of this modern-day version Big Bad Bruins. A coast-to-coast rush or game saving back check at full speed will in all likelihood be out of the question early in this series.
Sometimes being tough isn’t enough. Ryan Kesler doesn’t have a cracked rib or a bruised thigh. You can’t play through a pulled groin like you do with other things. Players don’t get warrior status from playing through a pulled muscle but the effects of it can be as severe as those glorified injuries.
To the Vancouver Canucks, he is as essential as any player can be to a team. He is a 40 goal scorer who is a lockdown defender. He’s as tough as they come and If I were a major media outlet I would also feed you a bunch of crap about Kesler being a great presence in the dressing room.
It’s odd that more people aren’t worried about this. A Stanley Cup is practically unfathomable without a healthy Ryan Kesler.
It would be nice if ignoring our problems would make them all go away but life doesn’t work like that. Ignorance is bliss until you have to face reality and the reality is that Ryan Kesler’s injury could prevent the Vancouver Canucks from winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
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