Ryan Kesler has officially entered boast mode, albeit a little early.
“To be honest, I don’t listen to that sh*t,” Kesler told reporters on Friday, after he was told some don’t think the Canucks are Cup contenders anymore.
“That’s what it is. It’s sh*t. We believe in ourselves in the dressing room. All those negative comments we’re not even going to… To be honest, I shouldn’t have even answered that question. It’s sh*t.”
And so, with that, welcome to the last phase of 2013, and the redemption of one Ryan Kesler – a former Selke winner turned occasionally offensive albatross, who tumbled from a Stanley Cup loss to two first round exits with our Vancouver Canucks.
It’s safe to say, Kesler’s transition from that devastating Game 7 has been as smooth as a university grad moving back home and looking for a job. He’s coming off two largely forgetful years, nearly all 48 months of which could be viewed as something to build on instead of anything worth bragging about.
They were paid internships, not the real deal. (At least, we hope.)
Kesler’s been injured, he has underperformed – although, again, he was injured – and the Canucks have limped right along with him.
“I’m confident I can do that and more,” Kesler told reporters earlier this week, as the Canucks opened their camp under the tongue and fire of crackling new head coach John Tortorella.
“Every player goes into a season thinking it’s going to be another career year and you’re going to play your best, but sometimes injuries happen and you just don’t play your best.”
Yeah, sh*t happens. It’s true, but it doesn’t erase the last two years – even if they were forgettable for everyone involved and everyone watching.
Like a kid fresh out college, the Canucks and Kesler have gone from the middle of the action – a life of thrilling Saturdays and enjoyably worry-free Sunday mornings, to keep the campus metaphor going – to the wilderness.
From youth full of promise, to veterans trying to keep the flame lit.
“All those doubters out there, we’re going to make them eat their words,” Kesler said on Wednesday.
Still, you can’t blame the doubters, can you?
Since their run in 2011, the Canucks have been leapfrogged by everyone just below them while simultaneously being caught by those in the cellar.
They were always the middle class nearly touching heaven, and they benefitted when the Blackhawks, Red Wings, and Penguins temporarily forgot how to win – not unlike David Duval taking over No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking, like, 15 years ago, or Colin Firth winning an Oscar for Best Actor – but that time is over and the Canucks just aren’t fresh anymore.
If you’re believing in the Canucks right now, you’re buying high and selling low.
I’m saying all this because I hope Ryan Kesler hears it, reads it, or gets mad from ingesting something like it. I hope he stays angry and, frankly, I hope him and the Sedin Twins and Luongo and John Tortorella and even Kevin Bieksa go out there and winning in spite of their fans.
It’s clear Kesler can read, and he’s not liking the words in front of him.
— The White Towel (@whitetowel) September 13, 2013
“I think Torts and I are a great fit. We both want to win and we both hate losing.” – Kesler
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) September 11, 2013
— Paul Chapman (@PaulC14) September 12, 2013