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Kesler on Torts: ‘I want to be told what I’m doing right and wrong’

Sep 11, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT

Ryan Kesler AP

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.

How Kesler and the rest of his teammates — from the Sedins to Kevin Bieksa to Alex Edler to Zack Kassian to Roberto Luongo — respond to Tortorella’s methods will be interesting to watch.

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.

Related: Torts warns Canucks on Twitter: ‘There better be nothing coming out of our locker room’

  1. loinstache - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Makes sense, I can’t provide a source but I remember a clip a couple of years ago about Sedin (I think Hank) on what kind of coach AV was. He mentioned that he was pretty quiet during practices, and he allowed the players to police themselves.

    I know there’s split opinion over how important a coach’s motivation is once you get to this high of professional level, but I do believe that a lack of driving guidance leads to complacency regardless of your profession.

    • jpelle82 - Sep 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      which makes the whole role reversals in both cities pretty interesting, ny getting av after having torts dictatorship and vice versa. will be interested to see if either or both are what is needed to right the respective ships.

      • barkar942 - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        The Rangers will lose many games that they play for 20 minutes or less. Torts demanded 60 minutes and got them usually up to +45 minutes a game. They had a 171-115-29 record under Torts. Considering they were floundering under Renney, he turned the franchise into a top contender in the last few seasons.
        My jury is still out on AV. I personally don’t think it is going to work. Human nature is when someone isn’t demanding your best as a boss or coach, the natural tendency is to “let off the gas”. That is my fear for the team this season.

      • kaptaanamerica - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:12 AM

        Kessler is motivated and I’m sure it will rub off on the rest off the team.the guy is going full beast mode.

  2. jcmeyer10 - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    “And I want it done, through the media, in the most public and passive way possible!”

  3. terrier92 - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    I would like to see Kesler in a Bruins uniform Like the way he plays with an attitude

  4. shoobiedoobin - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    This guy seems like a kid looking for someone to set boundaries for him. He exhibits every sign of a kid who never matured. Well the good news is you don’t need some overrated hack coach to tell you what you’re doing right and wrong. It’s clear already.

    -plays hard nosed hockey
    -plays defense as a forward

    -dives like he’s training for olympic swimming.
    -throws temper tantrums when things don’t go his way. ie; not scoring, losing awards, getting hit and embarrassed
    -sulks on the bench, quits mid-game
    -in general has a very teenaged immature attitude. very much a sissy punk at heart.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 12, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Asking to be treated like an adult is childish? He wants the coach to tell him what he wants, whether its’ good or bad input, instead of beating around the bush to protect girly players feelings.

      It’s more a commentary on Alain Vigneault’s coaching style (or lack there of) while in Vancouver. Tortorella is the opposite, and Kesler sounds happy about it and wants to him be up front and honest.

      • shoobiedoobin - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        This isn’t treating him like an adult.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        Yes it is. Would you rather have your boss try and protect your fragile little feelings and beat around the bush… or… treat you like an adult and tell you straight up what he wants?

  5. jpat2424 - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    D bag

  6. sampulls - Sep 11, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Amazing how we try to spin articles like this. Here the NET SUMMARY: coaches have to figure out how to motivate DIVAS LIKE KESLER in order to be successful.

    • imleftcoast - Sep 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM


  7. canadianguest - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Talking to the media, wrong, let Mr. Personality (Tortorella) do that. He’ll tell them when you do something wrong. Or if you are in the press box during the game, that’ll be a hint too.

    He’s a good coach. He took TB to the cup and won, and they weren’t a great team. But he’s also unstable. There is a fine line between innovative and crazy.

  8. blomfeld - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:48 PM


    the bottom line friends is that Kesler is ‘cool’ and good times are now ‘just a wait’n’ for us right around the bend ! :) :) :)

    ps: don’t worry LA Kings fans, as I merely ‘report’ from my forward position here in Vancouver as I see it

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