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Kesler calls reported trade request ‘completely false’

Feb 27, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

Ryan Kesler AP

Today after practice, Canucks forward Ryan Kesler called yesterday’s report that he asked to be traded “completely false.” (Here’s the audio, per TEAM 1040.)

“I never commented to anyone that I wanted out,” he said, per the club’s Twitter account. “My heart is with this group and making the playoffs.”

Of course, that won’t significantly lessen the trade speculation heading into Wednesday’s deadline, and possibly into the offseason if he’s not dealt next week. Even if Kesler doesn’t want out, Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis may still feel it’s in the team’s best long-term interests to try and move him.

PS — Kesler also said his injured hand is feeling better, and he hopes to play tomorrow versus visiting Minnesota.

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