Why Isn’t Anyone Worried About Ryan Kesler?

Ryan Kesler might not be his usual self in the Stanley Cup Final

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.

Related: Roberto Luongo the Ex-Factor

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.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

17 Responses to Why Isn’t Anyone Worried About Ryan Kesler?

  1. The Mayor says:

    The Canucks are better and should be the favorite, but being from Chicago I naturally hate them and will even jump on the bruins bandwagon. Nice post, thanks for reading and commenting on my blog as well.

  2. bigmac62 says:

    Great job, Chris!

    I do think they’re heaping honors upon Malhotra (Julius Caesar reference), and forgetting that another cog in this otherwise well-oiled machine is out as well. However, the Canucks do have a couple of good players to fill the void, and once he is 100%, watch out!

  3. I can’t say that I’m worried about Kesler, the Canucks have so much going for them, life’s good right now in Vancouver. Great post. I commented on This is the Year (thisistheyear.net) about how Manny Malhotra’s return is like something out of a movie, and could be the spark, but the Canucks don’t really need a spark. The way they’ve been playing, they should play very well.

  4. Chase says:

    ‘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.’

    You’re a moron. Just stop now. Where is your source? Are you Ryan Kesler’s wife?

    • Angus says:

      Wow Chase, classy post. Turns out Kesler was injured after all. It’s common knowledge that groin injuries are notoriously slow to heal, and you don’t need to be a doctor or Kesler’s wife to know this.

      So you going to apologise to blogger then?

  5. caniacwiz says:

    Kesler has been huge for the Canucks in the playoffs. He really relieves some of the pressure that is on the Sedins to score game in and game out. Look at the Nashville series. He pretty much single-handedly put the team on his back in that series.

    Re: Malhotra, I think it would be a dumb move to put him back in the lineup. Sure, he’s “medically cleared,” but what’s the point of bringing someone in cold, seeing how he hasn’t played since March? Why break up a 3rd line that has had great chemistry and provided the team with tons of energy shifts?

  6. thelimey2010 says:

    Hi Chris – god, you have a point and if true, it’s a little scary if you’re totally right. But, if anything this playoff’s has proven so far, is how this team can change their game to match and outwit the different strategies of their opponents. They shut the Toews, Kane line down in the Hawks series and managed to overcome the overtly defensive Preds. And look out they competed against the overwhelmingly strong Sharks by opening the space through speed and allowing to Sedins to play their game. All with different set of characters coming to the fore. In essence, this is not a one dimensional team, even having a monster like Kesler, who may not be totally 100%. Hopefully, they can compensate for him…….we’ll find out tomorrow! Well written!

  7. bharsihota says:

    Very well written blog, your style of writing is fantastic. I agree completely about people (such as myself) overlooking the injury to Kesler. If he is unable to perform up to the level we saw against Nashville, it puts even more pressure on the Sedins to produce, which looks unlikely should Chara match up against them. Glad you brought this to my attention, will definitely be paying more attention to Kesler’s play come Wednesday. Great blog.

  8. kingkielbasa53 says:

    Great Blog. I’m a Kessler fan being he’s from my home town, but I’m still pulling for the Bruins. Long Live Cam Neely! I’d love to say that these playoffs have been some of the best to watch in a long time. Hopefully the finals will live up to the past rounds.

  9. MT says:

    Great piece and observation on Kesler’s injury. However, I don’t think there will be any chance in hell of Kesler missing this series unless he is unable to blink. Ryan is a warrior and his game play proves that, and although he may still not be 100%, nobody knows his abilities and limitations like he does so I’m sure he won’t push it too much until he feels 100% comfortable. The positive side of this is of course the depth the Canucks have in their lineup, and it looks as if the Sedins are finally starting to ignite their potent offensive skills. As far as the goaltending battle goes, this should prove to be a tooth and nail fight between Luongo and Thomas. If both goaltenders are on their games, we can expect a few 1-0 OT finishes! As far as Manny goes, it can only be summed up with one word: phenomenal!
    This will be a very exciting series to watch, and one that will go down in history!

  10. Ackthpt says:

    Kessler at 80% is equal to any other forward at 100%. Besides, your entire premise is based on an assumed injury – no team member, coach, Canucks staff, media, nobody has said what is wrong. Yes we all saw him limp off, etc – but again, no one really knows what exactly the problem is, including you.

    Lastly, I hope Boston DOES try to play like the Preds – any team that has to go outside the box and play a different style than they have been playing ALL YEAR? Not a good idea Boston. Have fun struggling with your new game style. Idiotic coaching.

  11. jgome says:

    After watching Game 1, I don’t think there’s any need to worry about the guy. Bad ass finish.

  12. The Mayor says:

    Last night is why people in Chicago HATE Vancouver. They are gutless. http://windycitizensports.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/why-i-hate-the-canucks/

  13. Brad says:


    Haters gonna hate. Keep up the good work.

    As for Kesler, I think he proved last night that he is in top form. His work on the only goal of the game is exactly the type of contribution that divides winners from losers. If Vancouver wins, he is the clear choice for MVP (Lu would need an all-time series to erase those round one memories).

  14. Rhys says:

    I have been very worried about Kesler since the end of the game 2 with Boston. He was interviewed at the end of the game and didn’t seem himself at all. You’re right, not only aren’t people talking about his injury, they don’t seem to realize that a hampered Kesler puts the Canucks at a great disadvantage. He can have all the fortitude in the world, and he’ll never give up, but if his injury prevents him from playing 100%, I have my doubts that Vancouver will win the series. It seems to me that in all the previous series he set up most of the goals. He was always fighting so hard to create scoring opportunities and it paid off. But can he do that now?

  15. Pingback: Beginning of the End | FootBasket

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