- BC Games
Connect with Us
Blog: As Ryan Kesler goes, so do the Vancouver Canucks
You can knock the NHL's network of writers and websites for their cheese but you can't deny, sometimes they're right on the money.
"I have four goals in two games, but it's not about that," said Ryan Kesler, who had the game's final two goals on Tuesday night, as Vancouver beat the Nashville Predators 3-1. "It's our team and how we compete. We've been bringing it.
"It's a battle. It's an all-out war out there. You've got to fight for time and space... They're going to be dirty goals. That's what we got today."
For the Canucks to win, they'll certainly need Kesler to return to the Selke-winning form he hit on the head in 2011... you all know this, but it can't be understated.
It was only three seasons ago, but doesn't it feel like so much longer?
It was only one-and-a-half seasons ago (the hyphenated lockout campaign counts as a half) that Vancouver was the class of the league for 82 games. When the playoffs landed and they couldn't rely on their regular season'd reputation, it was Kesler who delivered them from certain loss in Tennessee in the same Nashville city and against (virtually) the same Predators club he once again pounded on Tuesday.
Not that he didn't have help, of course. Kesler's first goal was aided by Jason Garrison and Mike Santorelli, who picked up apples on the play. His second came on the powerplay and with credit to Garrison and Daniel Sedin. Roberto Luongo also had 30 saves on 31 shots against last night.
But Kesler's success is an absolute requirement for Vancouver's success. Not just because he's that important to the team (although he is), but also because he's the second-line center, and the occasional first-line winger.
He needs to be what every other great team needs their silver to be – he needs to be what Patrick Sharp or Marian Hossa is to Chicago, and often, he'll need to be both at once. He needs to be James Neal. He needs to be Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton.
If he is, the rest of the Canucks can be themselves, and there was time – not too long ago – when that worked pretty well.