This team is not big, it’s not tough. It’s turned into a skilled team that needs to out skate and out work it’s opponents to win versus out thugging them. We don’t have a lot of grit but the grit we have does the job, which is why I can’t for the life of me figure out why Kesler’s game as of late has changed. If anyone’s noticed Kesler lately his play’s turned from skilled play-maker into skilled pest play-maker. He’s getting in places he’s not supposed to, and he’s even trying to start fights.
The Canucks have a boat load of players that can drop the gloves and the third and fourth line are all gritty enough to take a swing at the other player. We’ve seen Hansen, Hordichuk, Glass, Johnson and Rypien drop the mitts and chuck knuckles, so I’ve been having a hard time trying to come up with a reason for Kesler being the target. If you notice night in and night out he gets run more than any of our other top six forwards and as a result he’s getting his face in places that we don’t need him to.
He’s a top play-maker, and he’s a vital part of our offence which at times (as we all know) sputters, but lately I’ve seen a shift in his play which can only be described as Burrows-esque. He’s getting heated and fiesty and it’s a side of Kesler we haven’t really seen, but also a side I don’t think we need to see. The more he perpetuates the badass image he’s portraying right now, the more he’s going to get run. It’s like he’s saying “I’m rugged and strong and I’m ready to show it”.
In the last handful of games there have been at least a couple of times he’s taken extra long to get up from a hit and I don’t see any other top six forwards take the beating he does. He’s crucial to the penalty kill, our second line, and our offense would struggle if we lost him because we certainly don’t have an abundance of secondary scoring. I just see the path he’s going on leading to injury. When the team has so many other players that can run their trap and take the heat for it and get into those dirty places, Kesler doesn’t need to play Sean Avery. If he does it’s going to come back to hurt him and to hurt this team.
Kesler’s a top play-maker, he’s a recognized player in the league and he doesn’t need to create a reputation. He’s established his reputation as a skilled offensive and defensively responsible forward. Adding a dose of pest to his game in my mind only lowers him to a level he’s far above. I’m just trying to figure out where this came from because it’s a totally different dimension of Kesler. It has its pros in short doses, but night in and night out is just a recipe for disaster.