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Video: Ryan Kesler matures and takes his game to a higher level

May 15, 2011, 10:12 PM EDT

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Canucks Hockey AP

It’s not exactly as if Ryan Kesler was totally anonymous coming into this season. Kesler really put himself on the hockey map last season when he starred for the U.S. Olympic team (scoring one of the best empty-net goals one can accomplish) and putting up a career-high 75 points.

That being said, the hockey world truly cannot afford to ignore him after he put together an epic set of performances against the Nashville Predators in Round 2. Kesler scored 11 points in that six-game series, averaging almost two points per contest. He didn’t abandon his rugged defensive play and really hammed it up in Nashville, becoming a true villain for a franchise that hasn’t had many notorious foes in their still-brief history.

It’s a bit much to say that Kesler has gone silent in the last few seasons, but as this video shows, the American forward often got carried away with “chirping” early in his career. He’s found a much better compromise between agitation and focus lately, a change of pace that opened things up for him to progress his game substantially.

The Versus video illustrates that transformation, including commentary from Kesler, teammate Daniel Sedin and coach Alain Vigneault.

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