Media hovering about the Vancouver Canucks in the wake of the team's lackluster 4-2 home-ice loss to Anaheim the night before actually found something to write about. The Canucks, not a team with a lot of internal issues, provided a subject on this day.
Not a big one, but a subject all the same.
The night before in the coach's post-game talk, Alan Vigneault made a remark about star center, Ryan Kesler. "I think he has to use the players around him a little bit more so that he can get into open space and create the type of offensive chances and be the type of defensive player that he can be," Kesler's coach said.
Ryan Kesler: "Me Utilize my players?"
Kesler wasn't in the media room, naturally, and missed whatever local sports broadcasts might have played on the show that night. So at the Monday practice when reporters asked him about it he had to get his bearings on what exactly Vigneault said about him. Then he responded.
"Me utilize my players?" Kesler asked. "Obviously, I don't know what he means by that and if he wants to say that he can come to me and talk to me about it. I am going to play my game, the things that have made me successful. I know what that is and if he wants to come talk to me he is more than welcome."
No word on whether coach Vigneault and his assistant captain, who won the Selke Trophy for the best defensive forward in the NHL last year, are gonna get together and "talk" about it. The two have historically had a strong relationship and it's hard to consider those remarks would influence that.
Injuries, surgery, late start for Canuck
Kesler was instrumental in the Canucks run to the 2011 Stanley Cup final but a hip tear picked up in the semi-final affected him in the final against Boston. He set up Raffi Torres for the winner late in Game 1 but that was his only point of the series. Going into the final he was a top playoff performer and despite his swoon still finished with 7 goals, 12 assists for 19 points.
His off-season surgery to correct his hip problem resulted in missing camp and getting a late start to the season. He seemed to find a grove a month or so into playing but has tailed off again of late. He has 31 points in 41 games, a little off last season's PPG average when he got 73 points in 82 games. But he scored 42 goals last season and has only 12 this year.
Later in the day, Vigneault backtracked a little when he told reporters that Kesler is a player who tries to play at a high-level every game all season and that it's "that's not easy for any player to do." He added Kesler is "working on trying to get himself there and get himself there on that consistent basis."
All of that is what passed for internal controversy with the Canucks these days.