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By me, Dee

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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.

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By ForeverCanuck on Aerys Sports

Dustin Brown is human garbage. How is a late knee on knee hit not a penalty? NHL refereeing is a complete JOKE! Absolutely pathetic.

I hope Michael Rozsival is going to be okay!

By me, Dee

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After suffering a head injury in Team Canada’s opening game of the 2012 IIHF World Hockey Championships last Friday, Alexandre Burrows returned to action today in Canada’s 5-3 come from behind victory versus Finland. Burrows, who was forced to leave last week’s tournament opener after colliding with two Slovakian players and falling awkwardly to the ice, is getting his first chance to represent his country at an international level.

While there were initial reports and concerns that Burrows had suffered a concussion, he did not experience headaches or other concussion-like symptoms after leaving the game. The fiesty winger still had to follow typical NHL protocol when it comes to head injuries, including plenty of rest and close testing before getting clearance to return to the line-up. Canada’s head coach, Brent Sutter, assured that Burrows was ready to return today, explaining “[e]very day has been really good for him since the initial [hit]. Since then he’s been [better]” (x). The Pincourt, Quebec native was eased back to skating with the team, first partaking in solo bike time and skating, before dawning a gold, no contact, jersey for a team practice earlier this week.

In his return, Burrows scored a goal, was a +1, and registered two shots on net in 8:21 TOI. Brent Sutter stressed the importance of Burrows’ goal in Canada’s eventual victory saying, “[t]hat first goal by [him] was huge. All of a sudden it’s 2-1 and we were right there” (x). There is no question that Burrows’ ability to play a physical game and provide a source of offense is what makes him the kind of player that can add a winning element to any team. And as the oldest player on Canada’s roster,  he can bring more to the team than just his multi-demensional play.

Burrows’ undeniable work ethic and determination has helped him plow through the ranks from being an undrafted, ball hockey player, to playing for Team Canada alongside the nation’s best players. Sutter recognizes Burrows’ as a “a smart player [who has] played in big games” (x) that can help lead Team Canada’s young roster by example. In addition to his valor, Burrows’ humility typifies the strong sense of character he brings to any team. He beams about the privilege of playing for his homeland, “I can’t tell you how excited I am to put a Team Canada jersey on and hit the ice. [It is a] [d]ream come true” (x). The Canucks’ veteran’s ability to amplify his game in dire situations and his unvarying drive to win will definitely help Canada excel at the World Hockey Championships.

Their 5-3 win over Finland today helped Canada claim top spot in Group A. Canada’s next game of the tournament is tomorrow versus Kazakhstan.

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By ForeverCanuck on Aerys Sports

Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that centre Ryan Kesler had successful shoulder surgery to repair torn labrum.

“After consultation with our team physicians following the playoffs, it was deemed that Ryan would require a procedure on his shoulder,” said President and General Manager, Mike Gillis. “We expect a full recovery and determined this procedure would best serve both Ryan and the team’s long term goals. (Source: x)

Exhibit A:

We all know that if we were injured, we’d be left hideously scarred…

This is why hockey players are life ruiners LOL.

Keith Ballard to return to the line-up tonight! First game in 2 months!
AYYYYY BALLEY!

Keith Ballard to return to the line-up tonight! First game in 2 months!

AYYYYY BALLEY!

AV is not impressed with the media’s bullsh*t.
If he said he ain’t talking about Danny. It means HE AIN’T TALKING ABOUT DANNY.

AV is not impressed with the media’s bullsh*t.

If he said he ain’t talking about Danny. It means HE AIN’T TALKING ABOUT DANNY.