“I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I think I've got a great vote of confidence from our ownership and management, and I don't intend to let anybody down. I'm going to do what I do every day, and that's come to work, be happy to come to work, be real positive and try to get the best I can out of the group. That's not going to change, and I wouldn't want to do that any other place than Vancouver"Alain Vigneault on how he never wanted to leave Vancouver and his best intentions with the team going forward”—Yahoo Sports
Ryan Kesler Learns Patience is a Virture After Successful Shoulder Surgery
By me, Dee
Given his lackluster performance this post-season Ryan Kesler became an easy target for many critics following the Canucks’ early playoff exit in April. A lot was expected of Kesler coming into the 2011/2012 season, having played the best hockey of his career during the Canucks’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Last regular season, he tallied 73 points in 82 games, scoring a career high 41 goals and 32 assists. He followed up his stellar regular season play with an equally impressive post season notching 19 points (7 goals and 12 assists) in 25 games. Unfortunately, the reigning Selke Champion was unable to build off his milestone year.
After having to miss the start of the 2011/2012 season (while recovering from off-season hip surgery) his rushed return to the line-up and depleted point production (49 points in 77 regular season games) left a lot to be desired. Kesler’s sombre play carried on into the playoffs where he suffered a five game goalless drought, triggering suspicion from fans, media, and management about his capacity to elevate his game when needed most. Also, recent news of him undergoing successful shoulder surgery (making this his third major surgery in five years) raised questions about Kesler’s resiliency and ability to stay healthy to battle for a Stanley Cup.
In a conference call for having just signed an extension with the club, Head Coach, Alain Vigneault went on record to say that he did not believe Kesler’s shoulder injury was an excuse for his disappointing season. Vigneault commented that while the team acknowledged the injury would require off-season surgery, ” [it] was not, in our mind, the reason for his diminished production”(x). Vigneault then boldly stated that Kesler himself would agree, insisting “I’m sure if you were to ask him, the injury wasn’t the reason his production fell” (x).
The speedy winger’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, responded by assuring that while not commenting on the situation, Ryan was “obviously frustrated by it because he [was] trying to do the best thing for the club” (x). Overhardt went on to support his client, arguing “I don’t think anyone questions how committed Ryan is to being the best he can be” (x) to help the team win. Overhardt explained “[i]t was very frustrating for Ryan that he wasn’t 100 per cent…[because of] how it impacted his ability to help his team succeed. He’s all about winning, He’s that simple” (x).
Overhardt ultimately challenged Vigneault’s claim that Kesler’s injury was not responsible for his atypical play this season, recognizing that his client is capable of much more and only a severe injury could prevent him from achieving his goal of winning it all. Canucks assistant General Manager, Laurence Gilman agrees, noting Kesler’s “productivity was down so you would assume he wasn’t playing to the level that he normally would have” and goes on to say that “Ryan wanted to keep playing “ (x). It is then this desire for Kesler to do all too much (and not, not enough, like Vigneault implied), that is the issue.
Kesler does have a history of doing whatever it takes to get back into action to try and help his team win, including rushing recoveries from injuries. But given his recent comments after his successful shoulder surgery last month, it is clear that he has learned that the best way to help his team is to assure that he is fully healed before returning to the line-up. Canucks fans should find confidence in the the fact Kesler has admitted that the recovery process is going to take six months and the All-Star insists, “I’m not going to come back early….I’m not coming back until I’m 110 percent when I know I’m ready and able to play my game” (x).
The Olympian eradicates any remaining doubt of whether he will take the time to fully recover by asserting that his doctor, Anthony Miniaci, will not release him until he is at full strength and regains mobility (x). Kesler added “I’m doing rehab two or three times a week with my therapist, and rehab on my own every day to get my range of motion back slowly…I’m not going to rush anything ”(x). Slowly, is the keyword that should have Canucks’ management and fans alike sighing in relief, because even Ryan Kesler’s biggest critics know that there is no stopping the man infamous for opting to have his shattered finger cut off in lieu of missing a playoff game, when he’s at his best. Kesler’s valiance and drive to win assures that once fully healed he will come back better than ever, especially since skeptics of the Selke Champion have now given him a point to prove.
By ForeverCanuck on Aerys Sports