Don Cherry took the words right out of my mouth and lately that’s a pretty scary thing but on this one he’s absolutely right: the Canucks, specifically Ryan Kesler, need to shut up and play the game.
When Kess made his return he played huge minutes in his first game back throwing a couple big hits on his very first shift. It was apparent he was back at 100%, but somehow so was his mouth after it missed an entire season – the best of his career.
Kess’ commitment to playing the game without the distraction of yapping at both the other team and game officials was a big story early last season. He didn’t exactly burst out of the gates last year but soon caught fire in a Selke Trophy winning effort, posting 41 goals as the new catalyst for the Canucks power play and enjoying an emotional run to the cupfinals; sounds a lot more satisfying than whining.
Grapes showed the exact clip that caught my ire, a scene from the recent loss to the Oilers in which Kess took a miniscule bump from Oil D-man Andy Sutton, who stands half a foot taller than the American Mouthpiece, and held his arms skyward with his helmet slightly disheveled over his ridiculous schoolboy hair wings. It was embarrassing and the most concerning part of the Canucks slow start.
This team has to play their game to be successful. Henrik Sedin may wear the C but Ryan Kesler is the emotional on-ice leader that inspires through his gutsy play, like he did during the cup run leaving everything on the ice while taking pain injections daily. Like it or not he might just be the Canuck’s emotional barometer and the readings were much more favourible when he was the Interview Bomber not the second coming of Essa Tikkanen.
Josh Statham Radio Program Podcast here: http://soundcloud.com/you/tracks Click the link for interviews with Lions Lineman Jesse Newman and Canucks chat with Brian Wiebe of Q101FM