‘I still feel like a Canuck’: Ryan Kesler talks Canucks’ playoff past and thoughts on this year’s team

Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Jagraj Lalli
1 month ago
Ryan Kesler, (like most fans in Vancouver) still has many memories from the unforgettable 2011 Stanley Cup Final run. 
Kesler, a former 2-time NHL All-Star and recipient of the 2011 Selke Trophy, joined Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali — The Team as he reflected on his experiences during the 2011 2nd round series against Nashville, a matchup set to be revived in the upcoming 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
During his tenure with the Canucks, spanning 10 seasons, Kesler established himself as one of the league’s premier two-way players. His contributions were pivotal in the Canucks winning back-to-back President’s trophies in 2011 and 2012. In the 2011 playoffs, Kesler played a crucial role, tallying 11 points in a six-game series against Nashville, continuing the team’s journey to the Stanley Cup Final.
After going scoreless in the 1st round against Chicago, he recalled the pivotal moment that ignited his confidence. 
“I didn’t score in the first series and I was kind of fighting it a bit,” Kesler recounted. “Christian Ehrhoff gave me literally a wide-open net, he skated around the net. I was in the blue paint and he put it right on my tape and I scored, and that’s what started it off.”
When asked about his perspective on the current Canucks roster and their playoff prospects, he drew parallels between his playing style and that of current Canucks players like JT Miller and Conor Garland.
Kesler emphasized the importance of players who are “hard to play against” in playoff scenarios.
“I know I’m compared a lot to JT Miller and even though I think he’s a better player than I was, he’s going to be a big piece to the puzzle. You know, they’re going to need him to be at the top of his game. They’re going to need, all through the lineup, even Conor Garland. I played against him. a bit. He was hard to play against. You look at guys that are hard to play against and that’s who you want on your team come playoff time. Top to bottom you look at their defence, their big Zadorov and Myers and you got Quinn Hughes back there doing his thing and you got a goaltender in Demko.” 
Despite having moved on from the Canucks and retired from the NHL in 2019 due to a serious hip injury, Kesler maintains a strong connection to the team. 
“I actually stay up a lot and watch Vancouver even though it’s 10:30 my time,” Kesler admitted. “It’s still exciting to me. I still feel like I’m a Canuck and I’m ‘All In’ like their slogan says.”
Watch the full interview below!

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