Earlier this week, former Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler joined the Sekeres and Price Show, and had lots to say.
The former Selke Trophy winner was sure to clear the air about his “I hate Canada quote” from many moons ago, clarifying that he meant he hated Team Canada, not the country itself.
“I would never say I hate Canada,” said Kesler. “It’s where my son was born. It’s where really I grew up as an adult, and at the time I said it, I had spent over half my life there. Canada has treated me very well and no, I don’t hate Canada.”
Kesler also gave more details on the hip injuries he suffered that would ultimately end his career.
“It was tough. My very first one — I remember like it was yesterday, because it was really my first time getting severely injured like that, and your mind plays tricks on you. You don’t know if you’re going to be okay and you battle through it but you remember the pain. I remember sitting on the couch and standing up and getting like a buckling pain and not being able to climb stairs. I think I was 20-21 at the time and was like ‘this isn’t right, this isn’t going away.’ Usually, all the bumps and bruises diminish after a while but with this one, I’d have good days then I’d have really bad days. Finally I got an MRI and they’re like ‘yeah, with your age, you need surgery right now, we don’t want this to linger on.’ So I went and got surgery. Then I had like three or four since then.”
After his career ended, Kesler required total hip replacement in both of his hips.
“To be honest, it’s hard. It’s just a slow process,” added Kesler.
Fans will never forget the legendary performance Kesler had in the 2011 playoff run — in particular the series against Nashville — but there’s another story the forward told that proved just how willing he was to put his body on the line.
That’s right, we’re talking about the time Kesler told the Canucks’ doctors to cut his pointer finger off in the series against Dallas.
“Like I was saying before, having that first hip surgery — the first surgery of my life — and going through the 10 weeks of rehab and just working my tail off just to get back so I can play the first game of playoffs — and then that happens? Still to this day, I would have done it, and I know that might make me crazy.”
“I looked at my finger on the bench and I’m like, that doesn’t look right, it kind of looked cockeyed a little bit and dented, and I couldn’t really hold my stick. But it was my pointer finger so I’m like ‘ah I’m good.’ So I went out and played a couple more shifts, and then I got slashed right on the same hand. And I’m like, ‘yeah, I got to go to the locker room and we took X-rays and felt like something’s going on here.
That was the four-overtime game against Dallas and it’s late. It’s already the next day, and I’m sitting in the doctor’s office getting an x-ray. It comes back that I broke my finger and I’m like, ‘alright perfect, just splint it and I’ll get back out there, I’ll deal with the pain, it’s fine.’ They’re like, ‘no you need surgery’ and I’m like ‘woah, you said I broke my bone I should be fine,’ and they’re like, ‘no you displaced it we need to put two, possibly three pins in, and we can’t do surgery until tomorrow.'”
“I had just read this story about this guy cutting the tip of his pinky off to be able to play in like his final senior game or something. And I’m like, ‘let’s just cut it off — I don’t need it. It’s on my top hand and it’s my pointer finger. I got three other fingers and a thumb. I’ll be alright.’ The doctor kind of like looked at me like, ‘what kind of drugs is this guy on?”
Evidently, the Canucks’ medical staff did not allow Kesler to proceed with cutting off his finger.
Kesler also talked about the time he signed an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers worth $1.9 million.
“The Canucks offered me 800 [thousand] and I wanted a million for that second contract for two years and Philly came in at 1.9 and I’m like ‘well how do I how do I turn this down?’ Like if Vancouver really wants me, they could have had me for 200 extra thousand. If they really want me, they’ll pay for me. If not, this team really wants me and then I’ll go over there. I bought a boat that summer and call it offer sheet — that’s a whole nother story though.”
“Really just the mindset is, I still wanted to be a Canuck, I wanted them to match it. I wanted them to match it early so I could actually start training camp on time, and they made me wait. I think it was six days before they actually said they’d match it,” recounted Kesler with a chuckle.
“Then I came in and I had a meeting with the GM, which wasn’t a good meeting. Thank God I had Nazzy, Bert, Trevor, all those guys that kind of settled me down after that meeting because I just got ripped a new one. Noni [former GM Dave Nonis] gave me an earful to say the least, and kind of made me feel bad. He kind of asked me if I would do it again and I was like ‘well would you sign me to a million if you had a do-over?’ and he didn’t like that answer.”
You can listen to the full interview with Kesler here.