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monkeedoMember Since 05 Jan 2007
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- Member Title Canucks Rookie
- Age 21 years old
- Birthday December 30, 1992
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Posted Tank Hankerous on 11 March 2010 - 05:18 PM
1. His grandfather Robert Kesler was a Design Engineer with Chrysler for 47 years. His grandfather was Jewish, although Kesler himself doesn't really practice.
2. His parents are Mike, a Project Manager for Blue Cross Insurance, and Linda, a store owner.
3. He grew up in Livonia, Michigan…Hometown of Mike Modano.
4. He cheered for the Minnesota North Stars, and not the Detroit Red Wings who only played 20 minutes away from his hometown. This is
because his brother was a Wings fan and Modano played for the Stars. When Kesler was 9, the Stars moved to Dallas.
5. His father Mike played hockey at Colorado College in the late 1960's. He began coaching minor hockey in Michigan in 1974.
6. His brother Todd is 8 years older and played hockey for Churchill High School in Livonia from 1990-1994, and holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and works for Detroit Diesel.
7. His brother also coaches the Victory Honda AAA U-19 women's team in Michigan along with ex-Canuck and current Canadian Women's National Team Assistant Doug Lidster.
8. Kesler started skating at 4 with his dad at Livonia Eddie Edgar Arena, and even took figure skating to learn how to skate properly.
9. Kesler got his start playing for the Livonia Knights minor hockey team at age 5.
10. His father built a backyard rink for the Kesler boys in the winter. They had boards with lights as well. Kesler picked up skills there from his brother "Me and my brother actually got along, we were best friends, we're like Hank and Danny - we never fight" he said.
11. He also has a sister, Jennifer who was a figure skater.
12. Kesler's parents struggled, and to raise extra money to pay for their kids' sports, Kesler's dad ran a hockey school in the summers.
13. When Kesler was 13, he was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome after a growth spurt. This lead to pain in his knees, and he could barely walk. As a result, he was cut from every local Triple-A team he tried out for.
14. However, at the time, his injury only lasted for 6 months, and his father took over as Head Coach of a local "Little Caesars" Bantam team. It was against guys who were at least a year older than than him, but Kesler ended up having a good year. His injury affected him until he was 15 years old, however.
15. Kesler considered quitting hockey altogether at age 15, but soon found success. He went on and played Midget AAA for Compuware, the team that Pat LaFontaine and Mike Modano had played for.
16. Kesler finished his Minor Hockey career with Detroit Honeybaked which was run by Lou Schmidt (who is currently the president of Honeybaked Ham Company), playing with future Canuck Mike Brown, and Drew Miller, the brother of Ryan Miller. Kesler scored 117 points in 72 games.
17. Honeybaked would attend tournaments in Canada, and junior scouts noticed the smooth skating Kesler who had good size. In June 2000, Kesler was drafted in the fifth round, 89th overall by the Brampton Battalion in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection.
18. Kesler thought about playing junior hockey in Canada, but wanted to stay close to home, and liked that the USNTDP gave players 90 minutes a day of on-ice instruction. Instead, he chose to play for the United States National Team Development Program in nearby Ann Arbour, Michigan.
US DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
19. Kesler moved to Ann Arbour, Michigan at 16, and lived with a billet family. He started playing on the U-18 team which included future Detroit Red Wing Patrick Eaves.
20. His first season with the USNTDP in 2000–01 he began playing on the U-18 midget team, and scored 28 points in 26 games. He also moved up and played 56 games in the North American Hockey League, a 21-team Junior A Tier II league, sanctioned by USA Hockey.
21. In January 2001 at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in New Glasgow and Truro, Nova Scotia. Kesler helped the American team to a gold medal victory over Team Canada Pacific (Alberta and British Columbia), finishing the tournament with one goal and five assists in six games. The game was broadcast nationally in Canada on TSN. His team included Matt Carle, James Wisniewski, Patrick O'Sullivan, and was coached by Moe Mantha.
22. Kesler still attended his dad's hockey school, from age 6 to 17, every summer. He would be on the ice for three hours a day during the hockey school including an hour of power skating.
23. The next season, 2001-02, the U.S. National Team Development Program left the NAHL and moved to he United States Hockey League. This was a breakout year for Kesler.
24. Kesler lead the U.S. to a gold medal at the U18 2002 World Championship in Slovakia where he received the Best Player Award for the tournament. He finished the tournament with seven points in eight games, including two goals in a 10–3 defeat over Canada in the final round. His teammates included Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
25. By the time Kesler finished his two years with the USNTDP, he scored 99 points in 131 games with the program.
26. Kesler worked with the US Progam's turtored while travelling with his team, and graduated High School from Livonia, Churchill High in his hometown.
27. Kesler was recruited by NCAA teams, as he was still eligible, not having played Major Junior. Kesler whittled his choices down to Wisconsin, which was coached by his teammate's older brother, Mike Eaves, or Ohio State University in Columbus. He chose Ohio State because it was close to his house in Michigan.
28. At OSU, Kesler competed against schools such as Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, an Bowling Green.
29. Kesler enjoyed Ohio State on and off the ice. He would attend football games on the weekends to watch the Buckeyes.
30. Kesler's college roommate was Rod Pelley who is from Kitimat, B.C. and plays in the New Jersey Devil's system.
31. On the ice, Kesler was the 2nd youngest player on the team, and was paired with 20 year old center R.J. Umberger, an unsigned first round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks. Dave Steckel of the Washington Capitals was also on the
32. Kesler played in an exhibition game between OSU and Canadian University Waterloo.
33. When the Canucks observed Ohio State games to keep tabs on Umberger, they noticed Kesler.
34. Ohio State was a tough place to play. It included 12-hour bus trips to schools such as Lake Superior State, combined with practices, games, and classes.
35. On Sunday, November 3rd 2002, Kesler scored his first NCAA goal in a 6-2 victory over Colgate getting an assist from Doug Andress, a Canadian who currently plays in Germany.
36. In early December 2002, Kesler was named to the American Squad for the 2003 World Junior Hockey Championship in Halifax.
37. At the time, the feshman was tied for third on the Buckeyes with 13 points. "I'll be able to concentrate on both teams," Kesler said at the time. "I'm leaving this team (OSU) for a couple games but I'm going to play for the world, so it's an opportunity I have to take. I'll only miss three games for OSU, and they're all non-league."
38. Kesler had a terrific World Junior tournament. He finished the tournament second in team scoring behind Zach Parise with 7 points in 7 games as an 18-year old, undrafter player. The US lost the Bronze medal to Finland.
39. Kesler returned to OSU and had a strong season. He played on a line with fellow freshman Dan Knapp, and R.J. Umberger. In one game against Lake Superior, they combined for 9 points. "You don't have to worry about them being a liability on the ice," said OSU coach and former Winnipeg Jet John Markell.
40. Kesler earned an honorable mention for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Rookie team and was awarded OSU's George Burke Most Valuable Freshman award. He was among the leading scorers for freshmen in the nation. He had 11 goals and 20 assists in 40 games as a freshman.
41. Coming out of his draft year in 2002, Kesler was represented by Agent Kurt Overhardt, a 35 year old ex-college hockey player who had only been an agent for 3 years. Although Overhardt was young, he had 16 NHL clients…mostly ex-college players including Brendan Morrison and Marty Turco.
42. Kesler was playing for the U.S. national development program in Ann Arbor, Mich., when Overhardt scouted the under-18 squad. Kesler said: "He was only going to take one guy from the program and it happened to be me. My mom liked him, so it was a given."
43. Brendan Morrison worked out in a gym with his trainer in Burnaby, B.C. called Fitness 2000 in the offseason. With Morrison's success in that gym, Overhardt sent his other clients to the same trainers. As a result, Kesler moved to Burnaby, BC for a few weeks in the spring of 2002, before the draft, unbeknownst to him that it would be his future NHL home. He lived with Overhardt client and Burnaby resident Milan Gajic, the former Burnaby Bulldog who played at Michigan, and in the AHL.
44. Kesler also worked at his dad's hockey school in the offseason, teaching young children the game.
45. While Kesler got physically stronger, he interviewed with NHL teams. The Vancouver Canucks would later reveal that he moved up their rankings with a strong performance in their psychological evaluation.
46. Central Scouting pegged him as safe NHL prospect, a player likely neither to thrill nor disappoint anyone. They said "He has decent size (6'1" and 195 pounds), a wide, strong skating stride, and a defensive conscience. Solid, not spectacular."
2003 NHL DRAFT
47. The 2003 draft was held at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee. There was speculation that the Canucks would take the son of Canuck executive Steve Tambellini, Jeff, who was from Port Moody. Even Kesler thought they would take Tambellini.
48. At the 22nd spot, Edmonton was debating between three players, Kesler, Zach Parise, or Marc-Antoine Pouliot. They whittled it down to either Parise or Pouliot. They ended up taking Pouliot. "We just feel Pouliot's upside is better." Said Oiler vice- president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast. "We think Parise has to work on his skating, too. Pouliot has more speed to his game."
49. Kesler was shocked when he heard his name selected 23rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks. Kesler had over 35 friends and family with him at the draft.
50. "The things we liked about Ryan Kesler were that he's got size, he's got excellent foot speed, he's a punishing player," said Canucks' GM Brian Burke. "We like the kid (Tambellini) a lot but we had Ryan Kesler ranked ahead of him. To be a forward in our league, you need proper levels of hostility, belligerence and speed and he's got those things. And, he's quite a bit bigger.Two teams, right after I took him, told me they had him rated in the top 10. That's a good endorsement."
51. However, the Canucks were talking to St. Louis about acquiring the 30th and final pick of the first round with the idea of snagging Tambellini when the Los Angeles Kings took him earlier.
52. Soon after being drafted, on August 18th Kesler signed with the Canucks, and inked an entry level deal worth $800,000 with a signing bonus of $825,000. He said "I looked at R.J. Umberger. I didn't want to be there three years. I wanted to start my pro career now." (Umberger was the Canucks' first round draft choice in 2001 and was unsigned).
FIRST PRO SEASON
53. At the prospects camp in 2003 at the age of 19, he confidently stated "I've come here looking to make the big club, I know I have to play my game, put up some numbers and catch their eye. And my parents have high expectations of me. They don't want me to play in Manitoba."
54. In his first Canuck intrasquad game, He scored once and assisted on another goal in his team's 7-5 loss at Queen's Park Arena in New Westminster.
55. Meanwhile, Unmberger's Agent Brian Lawton kept negotiating with Burke. Kesler's contract brough forth animosity. The Canucks, according to Lawton, offered Umberger significantly less money -- about 20 per cent -- than what they paid Kesler. Lawton said that didn't make sense, given his client's numbers and the fact Umberger was taken higher in the draft."They were teammates at Ohio State and Ryan is a terrific player, but for them to offer a significant amount less is wrong. I look at it like this: one guy had 53 points and was an all-American."
56. Umberger also said that seeing Kesler play pre-season games with the Canucks made the situation more difficult. He reportedly opened up negotiations asking for just over $1 million US. Vancouver's stance that Kesler deserved more money came from Ohio State coach John Markell, who was quoted as saying that Kesler was the more NHL-ready of the two.
57. Kesler was invited to training camp with the Canucks. On the first night of training camp at Kamloops in September, the teenage Kesler went to dinner with Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi.
58. Kesler could not crack the Canucks lineup, as with Brendan Morrison, Henrik Sedin, Trevor Linden, Mats Lindgren, and Magnus Arvedson, the Canucks had no room for a centre. He was sent down to play for Stan Smyl in Manitoba.
59. Kesler had two goals and five assists in his first 14 games with the Moose before suffering from a minor abdominal injury in Manitoba.
60. On November 24th 2003, less than 2 months from the beginning of his pro career, Arvedson, Lindgren and Chubarov were all out with injuries The Canucks were on the road in Toronto. Kesler and Nathan Smith got the call from Manitoba.
61. Upon being called up, Kesler was assigned a roommate: Team Captain Markus Naslund. His father Mike Kesler said at the time "Two people asked my wife if Ryan could get Naslund's autograph for them.
62. Although the Canucks lost 2-1, Kesler looked good. Playing mostly between Trevor Linden and Matt Cooke, the 19-year-old got 12:12 of ice and had one shot on goal…on a breakaway stopped by Ed Belfour. He was diligent defensively, coming back behind his team's net several times to help out, and Vancouver coach Marc Crawford thought enough of him to have him on the ice with under three minutes to go.
63. When he got called up, his parents were planning to come to Manitoba to celebrate US Thanksgiving with him. They had to cancel the trip and tried to head to Toronto, 5 hours from their home by car, for his first game. Kesler offered to buy the tickets for the 7 family members who wanted to attend at $160 each, but they declined to come when it looked like he wouldn't be in the lineup.
64. Instead, the Keslers did the next best thing. They called their local cable company and ordered the NHL package so they could watch the Canucks. They staged a huge party for the game.
65. The following night, they had another viewing party when the Canucks played in Montreal. Kesler played with Trevor Linden and Magnus Arvedson and earned his first NHL point, with an assist on Mike Keane's opening goal.
66. His linemate Linden said "He looks very calm. Under that there are butterflies and emotions. I said at training camp he's going to be a very good player. He's 19 years old; he hasn't filled out yet. But he skates well, shoots well, thinks well. I'm impressed by him because he has got a lot of natural ability…I'll never forget watching the draft. When we drafted him, the commentator said he was a mature kid who played solid defensively and had average skills. That player is different than the one I see. I see the way he skates. He's got a good shot, good puck sense. They made him out to be a checker, but I see a much bigger upside than that."
67. His roommate Naslund said: "He's very mature. He's skating well and making good plays. He looks strong, too. He's not that big but takes the body and plays strong defensively, too. He has impressed me."
68. Upon his callup, the Province reported that he had "confidence that verges on cockiness."
69. At the end of his 3rd career NHL practice, he spent 20 minutes with Linden in the faceoff circle working on taking draws.
70. He scored his first career NHL goal on November 29 against Calgary Flames goaltender Jamie McLennan in a 4–4 tie. Trevor Linden got the assist.
2004 WORLD JUNIORS
71. In early December, the Canucks organization granted Kesler permission to finish his esteemed US Junior Career at the 2004 World Junior Hockey Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
72. Kesler had a terrific tournament. He scored 2 goals in 4 round robin games, and scored the game-tying goal 6:58 into the third period against Canada in the gold medal game on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The US won the game 4-3, and the medal, and Kesler's linemate Zach Parise was named tournament MVP. This was the first World Junior title ever for Team USA.
73. Kesler was severely hit close to an eye by a stick during the game against Slovakia. The injury necessitated many both internal and external stitches to repair the damages. His parents, were in the arena when it happened. "The doctor said it was as close as you can come out losing an eye" said his father.
74. Legendary American coach Lou Vairo coached him at the tournament. He said "I've coached great American players, I mean you name them -- Neil Broten, Ed Olczyk, Chris Chelios and Pat LaFontaine." Vairo said. "This kid Kesler is right there with the very best players I ever coached.
"He's terrific. What an upside he has. He can do whatever it takes. He'll kill penalties, he'll play on the power play, he can play centre and he can play either wing. He's courageous. He is one of my all-time favourites."
BACK TO THE NHL
75. Kesler stuck around with the Canucks for 28 games, scoring 5 points, but stayed in Manitoba for most of the season in 2003-04. He struggled offensively, with just 3 goals in 33 games at the AHL level.
76. Kesler was on the Canucks' playoff roster, but didn't get to play when the Canucks fell to Calgary in seven games in 2004.
77. As the NHL headed into a lockout for the 2004-05 NHL Season, Kesler headed to Winnipeg for a full season of AHL hockey.
78. Kesler played on a strong Moose team, which included Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa and Rick Rypien. He scored 30 goals for the first time in his career at any level. He also had a +22 rating, second best on the team.
79. On Valentine's Day 2005, Kesler headed to the Verizon Wireless Arena in New Hampshire for the AHL All-Star Game where he suited up for the PlanetUSA team.
80. At the AHL All-Star Game, Kesler scored four goals on five shots in the rapid fire contest to help PlanetUSA to a 17-13 win in the skills competition. "I was on fire, I felt bad for (goalie Joey MacDonald.It's a tough drill for the goalies going back and forth like that."
81. Kesler also offered some bulletin-board material when asked if PlanetUSA was going to end Canada's five-game winning streak in all-star games. "We've got a few gold-medal guys on this team, let's go out there and give it to them again," said Kesler, alluding to his gold medal with Team USA at the 2004 World Junior Hockey Championship.
82. His Manitoba teammate Nolan Baumgartner replied: "He's beaking already. I'm going to run him tomorrow."
83. Kesler played on that All-Star team with his future Team USA Olympic teammates Zach Parise, Ryan Miller and Dustin Brown, as well as future Canuck teammate Christian Ehrhoff.
84. On Jan 10, 2004 Kesler got into his first AHL fight with Alexander Svitov. The two would fight again in the NHL in December 2006, nearly 3 years later.
85. The Moose made it to the conference finals, but were swept by the Chicago Wolves. Kesler had 9 points in 14 playoff games.
86. Kesler was named the Moose's Most Valuable Player for the 2004-05 season.
87. In July of 2005, when the new CBA was signed, players' contracts would be rolled back 24%. Kesler's NHL deal would go from $850,000 $646,000 per season.
88. In August, Canucks Checking-line centre Artem Chubarov turned down the Canucks' $743,000 qualifying offer and decided to stay in Russia. Kesler saw an open spot, and Steve Tambellini said he would have to prove he could kill penalties.
89. In September 2005, despite just having 28 NHL games under his belt, Kesler was invited to the evaluation camp for the 2006 US Olympic team in Colorado. His fellow Livonia Michigan Native, Mike Modano helped him out in what could have been a difficult situation for Kesler, who was just 21 at the time. "He really took me under his wing and was just a great guy to me," Kesler said. "He talked to me, told me what to expect, told me when to calm down."
90. The camp was held at World Arena, the home of Kesler's father's college team, Colorado College.
91. At the camp, Kesler skated on a line with Keith Tkachuk and Jeff Halpern, then Bill Guerin and Chris Drury.
92. Kesler showed up to Canucks training camp stronger and leaner. He shed bodyfat, but came into camp an inch taller with 30 pounds of more muscle. He said his experiences over the lockout year helped him.
93. They paired Kesler with Linden at camp."He's teaching me things every day," Kesler said. "I'm just trying to listen and take everything in. I'd love to model myself on him. I can see myself playing like him"
94. Kesler had an outstanding pre-season, especially killing penalties, paired with Linden and Matt Cooke. He was the youngest player to make the team, and would start the season centering the 3rd line with Matt Cooke and Richard Park.
95. On October 10th 2005, early in the season, Kesler played his first game in his hometown, in Joe Louis Arena. He arranged for tickets for over 100 family and friends "but they all got their own tickets. They were really good about it. I didn't get stuck with the bill." Coach Marc Crawford played him with Markus Naslund on some shifts.
96. Kesler didn't have a great first half to the season. They even tried pairing him with fellow struggling forward Todd Bertuzzi. But in January, a guy from the Moose named Alex Burrows was called up and would be paired with him…and his play improved.
97. In his first 15 games paired with Kesler, Burrows was only on for one goal against at even strength…an empty netter.
98. On January 28, 2006, Kesler had his first NHL fight against Ian Laperriere of Colorado. The next month he had his second fight against Jarome Iginla. After the Iginla fight, Kesler said "I didn't know he was a fighter, but I guess he proved me wrong. I'm a third-liner and he's a superstar. The trade off was definitely in favor of us."
99. By the end of January, Kesler had such a strong month playing with Burrows that Nonis started to get offers. He was even offered Curtis Joseph as the Canucks needed a goaltender, but didn't budge.
100. In March, with playoff hopes fading fast, Todd Bertuzzi was paired with Kesler and Burrows. Burrows got his first career Hat Trick that month.
101. In the first 42 games of the season, he had just four goals and one assist in a limited role as a fourth-line grinder. After Burrow's arrived in the second half, Kesler was among the Canucks' best forwards. In the Canucks' last 14 games, Kesler had eight points.
102. Ultimately, the Canucks missed the playoffs and Crawford was let go by GM Dave Nonis. Days later, Kesler was named to Team USA for the World Hockey Championshp in Riga, Latvia.
2006 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
103. From May 5 to May 21, 2006, Kesler played for USA in Latvia. He finished with one assist in 7 games, as the US finished in 7th place, assisting on a goal by Yan Stastny who now plays in the Canucks' system. Canuck Andrew Alberts was also a teammate. He was named the United States' player of the game in their 6–0 quarter-final loss against Sweden.
104. In September of 2006, with Kesler heading into training camp a restricted free agent, Bobby Clarke, GM of the Philadelphia Flyers signed Kesler to a 2-year, $1.9 Million dollar offer sheet. The deal was worth about a million more per season than what the Canucks offered. Canucks GM Dave Nonis said: "I was told a long time ago Bob Clarke would kick his grandmother down a flight of stairs if it would give him a better chance of winning." Especially after Nonis told Clarke early in the summer that he would match any offer.
105. Three days later, the Canucks matched the offer, and Nonis challenged Kesler: "When you start earning that kind of money, I would expect to see Ryan play 82 games [this year] like he played about 15 of them last year," said Nonis. "I do believe Ryan Kesler will turn into a $1.9 million player. Will he always be overpaid? I would say no."
106. Kesler played right wing his one season at Ohio State, he played right wing on the gold-medal winning U.S. national junior team and he played right wing during his rookie pro campaign with the Manitoba Moose. New Canuck Coach Alain Vigneault moved him there early in the 2006-07 season, on a line with Brendan Morrison and Jan Bulis.
107. Kesler was a victim of an early season head shot by Kurtis Foster of Minnesota. "I remember everything that happened, and I remember it was a cheap shot," Kesler said. "It was clearly a cheap shot. Obviously, the NHL isn't going to do anything about it, so what can I do? I'll just let bygones be bygones and go out and play. Cheap shots are part of the game."
108. Kesler began experiencing soreness in his hip near the All-Star break. He had six goals and 10 assists in 48 games when his season effectively ended as it was determined he needed hip surgery. He travelled to Colorado in January for surgery but his real value came on Vancouver's No. 1- ranked penalty kill. Kesler and Burrows were usually the first forwards deployed by Vigneault with Vancouver a man short.
109. Kesler was supposed to be out for 12-16 weeks, but 10 weeks later and played in game 1 of the playoffs against the Stars. He was great on the forecheck, and had two shots and five hits in the longest game in team history, in which Roberto Luongo made 72 saves.
110. Kesler had horrible luck. 8:03 into the seventh and final period he blocked a shot and suffered a displaced fracture in his finger. A displaced fracture means the bone has broken and shifted its position. He required surgery 12 hours after the injury, despite pleading with doctors to let him play. Playing would have caused permanent nerve damage.
111. Kesler was in a Vancouver hospital about to have X-rays on his broken finger when he got a phone call. It was his mom on the phone, calling her youngest child to tell him that his dad had cancer.
112. Kesler wanted to go home to be with his dad, his dad had told him over the phone it was important that even though he couldn't play, he stay and support his teammates. He travelled with the Canucks to Dallas for Games 3 and 4 of their playoff series with the Stars.
113. Kesler had to wear a plaster cast over his index and middle fingers and, at a team breakfast, needed teammate Mattias Ohlund to open a mini jar of jam for him so he could enjoy his toast a little more.
114. Kesler felt his heart wasn't with the team, but with his father, and sought permission from the Canucks to return home to spend time with his dad. The Canucks gave him their blessing.
115. Kesler said: "Even though he said he didn't want me there, as soon as I got there, he was really happy to see me. It felt good to be there for him." Kesler's dad had surgery and had part of his intestine removed. Within 6 months he recovered and was back to work.
116. Despite his limited playoff play, the Canucks re-signed Kesler to a three-year, $5.25-million contract extension in May 2007.
117. People around the league started to take notice of Kesler during the 2007-08 season. Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks who had just won the Cup said "He's not an easy guy to play against."
118. Kesler was cross-checked to the head by Jesse Boulerice on Oct. 10 at GM Place. He didn't miss a game while the Philadelphia Flyers winger received a 25-game suspension.
119. On November 16th at GM Place, Kesler was clobbered by a frustrated Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild with a leaping elbow to the head. Gaborik was held to two shots by Kesler's line (Kesler-Cooke-Burrows).
120. In December, Kesler was hit from behind by the Avalanche's Cody McCormick. Kesler had some concussion symptoms but only missed one game.
121. In January, Kesler made a bet with Michigan alumnus and teammate Bendan Morrison over the Michigan-Ohio State football game. Ohio State won, and Morrison had to wear an Ohio State helmet. Kesler said: "It was definitely good to see a Michigan boy wear an Ohio State helmet. I think I was more excited about Mo wearing that helmet than I was about the game itself."
122. Vancouver was reported to be one of the teams looking at making a deal for Brad Richards towards the trade deadline in 2008. Some of the players the Tampa Bay Lightning wanted in return for Richards included Kesler, rookie defenceman Luc Bourdon, goaltending prospect Cory Schneider and forward Mason Raymond. Kesler went on to have a break out year, with 21 goals.
123. With the Canucks missing the playoffs, Nonis was fired. Kesler defended his head coach, Alain Vigneault saying "its got to be the guys in here" who turn the team around, and that the blame couldn't be put on the coaches.
124. In May 2008, Kesler's wife Andrea gave birth to their first child, a girl, Makayla Rylan Kesler.
125. With Naslund on his way out and Linden retiring, there was some speculation that Kesler could be named Captain. The nod eventually went to Roberto Luongo. On September 30, 2008, Kesler was announced as a Canucks alternate captain with Willie Mitchell and Mattias Ohlund.
126. To start the 2008-09 season, Kesler played on a line with Burrows and Jannik Hansen. Hansen was having a career year 17 points, 13 of them assists, in his first 29 games, playing on the shutdown line.
127. In January of 2009, the Canucks were struggling. Vigneault decided to split up Burrows and Kesler. Kesler was placed on the right-wing of the second line with free agent acquisitions Pavol Demitra and Mats Sundin and had the best offensive year of his career.
128. On January 18th 2009, Kesler got into a fight with his former college linemate Umberger. A month before, Kesler had said before a game in Columbus: We'll chat tonight, but it won't be friendly," Kesler said before the Vancouver Canucks met the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. "Everybody knows we're not a big fan of one another. We got along as linemates at Ohio State, everything was fine until I signed and then I think there was a little jealously from his part." Kesler said. "He and his agent (were) going on radio stations and talking down to me. I just didn't think that was very classy."
129. Umberger replied that it was just business and expressed surprise that Kesler continues to harbour a grudge: "I know when we were linemates at Ohio State, I did nothing but try to help the kid as a rookie and I put myself out there for him. It's a shame to have him say stuff about a former teammate. If he wants to keep playing that way I am going to play him hard and tough and we're just going to keep battling it out."
130. In March 2009 the Vancouver Sun ran a photo of a shirtless Darcy Hordichuk posing with his new baby. Kesler said: "There should be a fine. For him to actually pose for a picture with his shirt off... You've seen his body. He doesn't have the greatest body. It's like the 'before' picture in the Jenny Craig commercials."
131. Kesler also spoke from the heart in March when he stated that pay cuts were in order to keep the club together in pursuit of a Stanley Cup. That prompted a call from the NHLPA. He said "If we're going to win the Cup, we need guys to take pay cuts. The way the salary cap is now, you really can't get what you're worth now if you want to win. Everybody in this locker-room knows that and for us to be a great team going forward, we're going to have to take a pay cut."
132. In early late April 2009, with the Canucks having a week off in the NHL schedule, Kesler and his friend and roommate Kevin Bieksa got into a scuffle in practice. Kesler gave Bieksa a hard shoulder check, and Bieksa responded with a croass check, while they jawed at each other. Captain Luongo said it was ""Nothing serious.Those are two of the best friends on the team so I'm not worried about it. It's nice to get a little bit of emotion going after a little down period."
133. Kesler finished the season with 26 goals, 33 assists and 59 points including 21 points in his final 22 games. He was awarded the Cyclone Taylor Award as team MVP.
134. Mike Gillis said "In my meeting with Mats Sundin (after the season) he referenced Ryan four or five times as a guy who he didn't know he is as good as he is."
135. Kesler was nominated for the Selke Trophy with Mike Richards and Pavel Datsyuk, by the by the Professional Hockey Writers' Assoication.
136. In July 2009, Kesler was among 34 players invited to the U.S. Olympic men's ice hockey orientation camp at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Illinois that August. Kesler said "The fans in Vancouver have been really good to me. They don't even treat me like I'm an American there. [But at the Olympics] I will be the enemy and I will get booed, but I won't worry about it."
137. He also joked at the camp that he was looking forward to playing against Luongo: "I know all his weak spots, so it will be easy for me."
138. In December of 2009, Kesler and Willie Mitchell, both alternate Captains, nearly got into a fight in practice. Mitchell, upset about a slash from Kesler, demanded Kesler to cut it out, prompting Kesler to holler back "it's never your fault, Willie" as Mitchell shoved Kesler up against the boards. Cooler heads then prevailed and no punches were exchanged, although they did give each other stares. Luongo said with a laugh "It's just Ryan being Ryan, you know what I mean? There's nothing much to it. They're very good friends." Vigneault said: "I'm sure they've all kissed and made up."
139. In January of 2010 Kesler was named to the US Olympic team. He said "My mom called me in tears. Her first words were, 'I can't believe I have a son as an Olympian.' She was pretty choked up and very proud of me. It's obviously very special for her and my dad and I get kind of choked up thinking about it, too."
140. Kesler's parents, brother and sister-in-law came to watch him play in the Olympics. US Coach Ron Wilson put him in the starting lineup in their first game against the Swiss, so the fans could cheer for him. Kesler said he appreciated the gesture.
141. Kesler scored 2 goals in 6 games, and helped lead the USA to a Silver Medal. He scored both his goals in both of Team USA's games vs. Canada.
142. Kesler became the first former Ohio State player to skate for Team USA in the Olympics and the first to earn a medal.
143. One of Kesler's Team USA teammates was David Backes. In the prior season's playoffs, Kesler pointed to Backes and said, "Tell Kelly I said hi." Kelly is Backes' wife. Backes wasn't too crazy about Kesler when the two were brought together as Team USA teammates for the Olympics. "No, not so much," he said. "That's a very, very good conclusion."
144. To date, he has had 16 NHL fights, including pre-season.
145. His nickname is "Bull" which he earned by hitting teammates hard in practice.
146. His dad is the Head Coach of the Junior B Motor City Chiefs of Michigan hockey team.
147. His wife, Andrea is a leading organizer of the Canucks' Wive's and Girlfriends' charity programs. She said her husband is very supportive of their programs: "He thinks its great the organization lets us put a face on what the spouses do and pitch in."
148. Kesler lives in a house in Kitsilano with his wife, their daughter and 3 dogs. He used to live in Yaletown in a condo complex where other Canucks live.
[b]149. Kesler is a big time Video gamer. He was featured on an episode of Inside the NHL talking about his passion for video games. He also [/b][b]did work in a motion capture suit with for 2k in the Summer of 2009 with Alexander Ovechkin on the Las Vegas Strip, and later in Tarzana, [/b][b]California.[/b]
[b]150. In March 2010, he was named the cover athlete and spokesperson for the videogame NHL 2K11. In the previous offseason, he an [/b][b]teammate Bieksa starred in a TV commercial for the game. [/b]
[b]151. In the Off Season, Kesler works on a Mustang he keeps at his parents house, and takes his boat out fishing for Bass on a lake near [/b][b]his home.[/b]
[b]152. On his future, he says "I want to stay in Vancouver. I love it, my family loves it. It's a great city; maybe the most beautiful city in North [/b][b]America. The Canucks are a great organization."[/b]
[b]153. Kesler's best friend is Chris Conner, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They played minor hockey together. Kesler was the best [/b][b]man at Conner's wedding.[/b]
[b]154. In an 2009 interview, Kesler said about the Olympics: "I think the United States will medal. I'll guarantee that." and "I guarantee that [/b][b]we'll beat the Canadians." Kesler was right on both fronts. [/b]
[b]155. After the 2010 Olympics, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated...behind Sidney Crosby.[/b]
[b]156. He switched Jersey Numbers from #20 to #17, during the 2006-07 season.[/b]
[b]157. On March 19th 2010, he signed a 6-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks, making him a Canuck until the 2015-16 season, when he will be 31 years old.[/b]
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