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Ryan Kesler gives Americans a reason to root for Vancouver

Jun 1, 2011, 6:56 PM EDT

Ryan Kesler AP

So perhaps you’re not a Bruins fan at all and you’re not exactly gung-ho in rooting for Boston to win their first Stanley Cup since 1972. You’re looking at the Vancouver Canucks and not really falling in love with them either. Either you’re weirded out by the Sedin twins or you’re harboring ill feelings toward Roberto Luongo for being the winning goalie during Team Canada’s run to the gold medal over Team USA in the 2010 Olympics. If you’re an American hockey fan, getting warm and cozy even for one series with the Vancouver Canucks might be a bit difficult.

Ryan Kesler is here to tell you that it’ll be OK if you root for Vancouver because of him.

Kesler is a Livonia, Michigan native who spent his formative years playing hockey with the United States National Under-18 team and then for a year at Ohio State University. While we’re pretty sure Jim Tressel had nothing to do with him being there, Kesler’s season at Ohio State was good enough for Vancouver to pluck him out of Columbus and get him working in their system with the Manitoba Moose. While Kesler spent a year and a half with the Moose, upon graduating to the NHL he’s turned himself into one of the NHL’s best two-way forwards, ultimately turning in his best pro season this year scoring 41 goals and adding 32 assists this year and a Selke Trophy nomination for best defensive forward.

In the playoffs, Kesler is perhaps the leader for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP right now after scoring seven goals and 11 assists through 18 games in the playoffs. A point-per-game pace at anytime is great to see, but in the playoffs that’s the sort of thing that helps win you hardware. Add all that to his appearance in the 2010 Olympics with Team USA and you’ve got yourself a player that the American version of Don Cherry would be awfully proud of as a “fine American boy.”

Joining Kesler as Americans fighting for the Cup for Canada are backup goalie Cory Schneider (Marblehead, MA), forward Chris Higgins (Smithtown, NY), and defensemen Keith Ballard (Baudette, MN) and Andrew Alberts (Minneapolis, MN). While Boston’s Milan Lucic might be in a weird position as a native of Vancouver trying to win the Cup against his hometown team, Schneider being a Marblehead native and former goalie at Boston College makes life a little conflicted for him too.

Such conflict could be squared away though thanks to Kesler as he’s been a dominant force on the Canucks second line and as a penalty killer and defensive shutdown center. If he can help rein in David Krejci or Patrice Bergeron while scoring goals he’ll be a legend in Vancouver and back home in Michigan too.

  1. bradsteam - Jun 1, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Kesler plays like a Canadian born player, and that’s why we Canuck fans love him even more!

  2. sjawesome - Jun 1, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    I disagree. After seeing him flop all over the ice in the western conference finals and fight with Joe Pavelski (fellow team USA Teammate) I am rooting for Boston.

    • polegojim - Jun 1, 2011 at 10:50 PM

      And a BIG West Coast Whaaaaaaaaa to you!

      Dry your eyes. Still can’t get over it, eh?

  3. polegojim - Jun 1, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Actually, the Bruins are JUST as Canadian as the Canucks,17 Bruins to 17 Canucks.
    ALL the Bruin forwards are Canadian, except 1

    And where is Tim Thomas from…. oh, that’s right, MICHIGAN. You’re welcome Boston!
    And where is Ryan Kesler from…. oh, that’s right, MICHIGAN. You’re welcome Vancouver!

    Hey, if we’re going to get SILLY about it, let’s go ALL the way…

    It’s not Canada V the US. It’s the NHL.

    • sharksfan754 - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:01 AM

      ^^ Tell that to those Montreal Canadiens fans who only want a quota for French Canadian players on their team.

  4. sjawesome - Jun 1, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    No I can’t get over it. The fact is Vancouver is getting all of the calls and all of the non calls. It would be interesting to see how well Vancouver would play if the games were called fairly. Let’s go boston you still have this

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