The way Ryan Kesler has played this spring, there’s no question he’s a Conn Smythe trophy contender.
Did anyone tell him he’s eligible even if he’s not Canadian?
Before Wednesday’s Game 1, the usually laconic Vancouver Canucks centre tried to say he’s a true Canuck during an interview with CBC’s Scott Oake.
“We love our hockey up here,” the American said. “I say ‘we’ cause I almost feel Canadian.”
It seems the Livonia, Mich., product is starting to adopt his NHL home of the past eight years.
There are those out there who would argue, but Kesler could play on Team Canada any day. But after losing the gold-medal game a year ago, Kesler must be thinking it would be better to be part of the celebration in Van City this time around.
His play to set up the winning goal was a thing of beauty in Game 1, and he’s been doing that for the past two months.
If Kesler were to win the Conn Smythe, he would be the second Yankee to do it after New York Rangers blueliner Brian Leetch in 1994.
Starts and stops
The Canucks wanted to take a bite out of the Boston Bruins, but this was a little much. As if Alex Burrows wasn’t hated enough, now the evidence of his weasly ways are the teeth marks left on Patrice Bergeron’s finger. Burrows was called for roughing at the end of the first period for biting the Bruins forward in the middle of a scrum. Somewhere, Mike Tyson is proud … If high-sticking is hitting a normal-sized player in the face, the term for whacking Zdeno Chara should be mountain-mashing. Twice, the Canucks put lumber in the 6-foot-9 Bruins blueliner’s grill. That’s truly reckless … Game 1 was the complete opposite of the Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Game 7, where neither team took a penalty. Either these two teams aren’t worried about making mistakes or the Eastern Conference final wasn’t as intense as the hockey the Canucks play.
CBC showed Colin Campbell during his scrappy days wearing the gaudy striped Canucks jersey. That was before the NHL disciplinarian, who is stepping down, had white hair. Campbell’s replacement, Brendan Shanahan, got face-time shortly afterwards with his shiny black mane. We’re guessing it will be grey at the 2012 Stanley Cup final. A year in that job will send any man rushing to buy Just for Men … How good is security in Vancouver? Shanahan couldn’t get into the dressing room area without his pass. Your 656 career goals aren’t good here … Mark Chipman dropped devastating news on Hockey Night in Canada: There is no room for the Queen at the MTS Centre when Winnipeg returns to the NHL. That’s treason! … Behind Chipman during the interview: A Bobby Orr picture and a Mike Keane banner. Never put those guys in the same sentence before.
Back to the point
Sometimes, the refs get a little too whistle-happy, and that cost the Canucks in the second period. Alex Burrows was called for a trip of Tim Thomas, but the Canucks forward was clearly pushed into the goalie by a Bruins defender. The call negated 1:30 of a five-on-three the Canucks dearly needed … If Dan Hamhuis was seriously injured delivering a wicked hip-check on Milan Lucic, at least the Canucks blueliner has one of the best highlights of the final … CFL commissioner Mark Cohon looked quite sheepish when the camera turned on him following a Michael J. Fox interview. Now his secret it out: He’s friends with Gary Bettman.
"Americans are upset Ryan Kesler said he felt Canadian. Canadians outside of Vancouver are upset for the same reason."
– Kirsten @oxKirsten
"Super Man wears Kevin Bieksa pyjamas when he goes to sleep. #Canucks #RuintheBruins #Bringithome"
– Bodhi Jones @bodhijones
"It feels somehow appropriate to have an NHL Head of Discipline who was once traded straight-up for Chris Pronger."
– Down Goes Brown @DownGoesBrown
"For the record, I don’t think Bieksa’s attractive, so when people tell me I look like him, I take it as an insult. LOL. #Canucks"
– Katie Maximick @KMaximick