Sep 11, 2013, 1:20 PM EST
Back in January of 2012, then Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault was asked for his thoughts on the offensive struggles of star Canucks center Ryan Kesler, who had tallied just three points in his last eight games.
Here’s what Vigneault had to say: “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.”
Translation: pass the puck more.
Vancouver being Vancouver, Vigneault’s response did not go unnoticed. And not just by fans and media — by Kesler himself.
“Me utilize my players?” Kesler said the next day. “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.”
What followed was no shortage of speculation about Kesler’s relationship with Vigneault. Some blamed the player for being so prickly; others criticized the coach for sending messages through the media and not in private.
Fast forward to the present and the Canucks have a new head coach in John Tortorella — a guy with a long and celebrated history of ripping his players, both in private and public. (Just ask Carl Hagelin.)
Today, Kesler was asked about his new bench boss.
“I think Torts and I are a great fit. We both want to win and we both hate losing,” Kesler said.
Then: “I want to be told what I’m doing right and wrong.”
Possible translation: the last guy didn’t tell me what I was doing right and wrong.
Of course, it’s not just a new coach that should serve as motivation for the Canucks, who were swept in the first round of the 2013 playoffs by the San Jose Sharks.
“Last year was straight-up embarrassing,” said Bieksa.
- NHL on NBC: Rangers look for a fourth straight win against the Flyers 3
- Ducks score four third-period goals, come back to beat rival Kings 6
- Blackhawks aren’t done talking trades, will look to add another forward 9
- Breaking: Flyers trade Kimmo Timonen to Blackhawks 25
- Video: Couture fined $5K for slew-footing Smith 22
- Time to start winning — Bruins’ next four games are against non-playoff teams 17
- Burgled: Sens’ Hammond shuts out Kings 14
- Wild get important win vs. Preds (and some luck, too) 41
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs 66
- Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils 29
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- ‘I don’t know why we’re so comfortable,’ says Toews after loss to Avalanche (69)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs (66)
- Lindros files $3M defamation lawsuit against ex-referee Stewart (Updated: Now $250K) (65)