November 3, 2009 marked for me, and for many out there, the coming out party of Ryan Kesler. That game against the New York Rangers at GM Place solidifies the letter on this man’s chest. Question is: Is it the ‘right’ letter?
We’ve been seeing the improvement in Ryan’s game over the last few years, especially after the Canucks matched a qualifying offer the Philadelphia Flyers made to him in 2006. Ryan Kesler is, as they say in Toronto, “The Straight Goods”. The man has not only has proven to be a good defensive forward, (good enough to garner himself a nomination for the Selke Trophy) but he can put up some good numbers. The passion and intensity that Ryan Kesler brings to the ice each and every night is unmatched on this roster.
I’ve always liked Kesler, but it wasn’t until about a season and half ago I really believed he should have succeeded Markus Naslund as Canuck captain; instead it went to Roberto Luongo. When I see Ryan Kesler, I see a guy who sticks up for his teammates, even if they were in the wrong (the Kelly Backes incident). I see a guy who can approach the officials and be listened to and taken seriously. His diplomacy with the media showed in his younger years has been honed to near perfection in the present day.
So why isn’t Ryan Kesler the Canuck captain? I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong, I like Roberto Luongo a lot, and I like the move that Canucks management did to make him the Captain on a marketing, news-making, and intra-locker room level, but I think it’s time to give it to someone who doesn’t stay on blue ice. I think it’s time that Ryan Kesler wears the “C”.
- Ryan Kesler hates to lose. You see how angry he gets when the Canucks have lost a game or are put in a losing situation. He will do everything he can to make sure he does his part to make it better.
- Ryan Kesler plays hard each and every shift. If he’s on the ice, he’s doing something and moving, and trying to create chances.
- Ryan Kesler is an excellent two-way player. Tell me who on the team is better than Kesler in terms of a two-way game?
- Ryan Kesler has improved something about his game each and every year he’s been on the roster. At this point in the season, he’s 20th overall in scoring and is on pace to have having a career year hitting an 82pt total.
How can anyone argue any of these points? In all honesty, I suppose, if someone tried really hard and dug really deep they could, but on many other teams, Ryan Kesler is a shoe-in for team captain. In fact, I am sure many feel as I do, he should be our captain. All the ‘what ifs’ have been answered, and resoundingly, Ryan Kesler is a bona fide leader. So maybe our franchise player should be just that, and let the captaincy go to the heart and soul of the team.