Everyone in and outside the NHL knows all about the reputation that follows Ryan Kesler wherever he goes. One of the best two-way players in the game through most of his career, Kesler is still probably best-known for his capabilities as a skilled pest.
Heck, it took Ryan Johansen just two games to get sick enough of Kesler’s antics that he decided to sound off about it.
“He just blows my mind, I don’t know what’s going through his head out there,” Johansen said after the Predators’ Game 2 loss. “His family and friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that.
“It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game. I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey, and it sucks when you have to pull a stick out of your groin after every shift.”
This, of course, was a big mistake.
Far from backing down Kesler, predictably, played up his role as an agitator and how Johansen’s comments just show how effective Kesler’s way has been so far in the series (watch it in full at the top of this post).
With both the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, Kesler has made a career of being a presence on the score sheet as a productive player, and off of it, adding a frustration factor with his ability to get under the skin of his opponents.
With eight points in 13 games during these Stanley Cup Playoffs, and now at least one Predator upset enough to air his grievances with Kesler to the public, he’s still at the top of his game.