Tag:Ryan Kesler
Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:45 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 11:23 am
 

Sharks fan not charged for KO-ing teen Canuck fan

By Brian Stubits

Earlier this season we relayed to you the story of 16-year-old Maggie Herger wearing Canucks clothes to a game in San Jose when she was concussed by a fan behind her. The story included such details as the girl having undergone brain surgery to remove tumors in the past and other Sharks fans taunting her as she was loaded into an ambulance.

It was a sad story, maybe as much for the general theme of fan violence at games as much as it was about the details of the specific case here.

The result (besides the concussion for the girl) is no charges will be filed by Santa Clara County against the woman who hit Herger. There was no evidence to bring about charges on and the offending woman was overheard telling ushers at the game that it was accidental.

"Our hearts go out to the young woman and her family," Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney David Howe said in a statement. "No fan should worry about their safety at a sporting event. However, the evidence is insufficient to establish who committed the act that resulted in the teen's injury and whether that act was intentional or accidental."

The incident occurred (ugh, I've been watching too many Shanahan videos) just after the Sharks scored, so potential eye witnesses were all celebrating. Herger and her sister said the woman was intoxicated and had been badgering them all game.

Naturally the Herger family was left disappointed by the news but at this point they are ready to move on.

Helping Herger get over the ugly scenario has been the Canucks organization, including Ryan Kesler. Kesler, her favorite player, wrote her a letter with a signed photo and some other memorabilia.

Personally, I really hope that what happened really was an accident. I mean, if the woman was intoxicated, it would seem very plausible that she would stumble when standing up and fall forward, thus hitting Herger. If not then somebody just got away with assault in front of close to 18,000 other people.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:36 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 6:32 pm
 

Bruins, Canucks offer plenty of craziness



By: Adam Gretz

The video you see above shows the play that earned Bruins forward Brad Marchand a five-minute major for clipping late in the second period of Saturday's Stanley Cup Finals rematch between Boston and Vancouver.

In the end, it proved to be a costly penalty for the Bruins as the Canucks took advantage of the extended power play, scoring a pair of goals that proved to be the difference in their 4-3 win. It was a game that did not fall short of the hype leading in to it. From the drop of the puck it was obvious there was no love lost between the two teams (or the fans) and it was non-stop craziness from start to finish, and it also may have given Brendan Shanahan a bit of extra work to do over the weekend in terms of supplemental discipline.

Not only will Marchand's hit most certainly be looked at by the league (Sami Salo, the player he hit, was not only injured on the play, but he never even had possession of the puck while Marchand made no attempt to play it), there's also the question of what will be done to Bruins forward Milan Lucic after he was ejected just six minutes into the first period for leaving the bench during a line brawl (which you can watch right here). ESPN Boston's James Murphy passed along the information during the game that NHL will meet after the game to decide whether or not he joined the scrum during a legal or illegal change.


If it is determined to be an illegal change he will be facing a 10-game suspension, which is the mandatory punishment for leaving the bench during a fight. Last season Eric Godard, then a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was hit with that punishment for leaving the bench during the now infamous February brawl between the Penguins and Islanders. A couple of weeks ago Tampa Bay's Steve Downie was hit with a $2,500 fine for a similar incident, avoiding the suspension because the NHL decided that he joined the play during a "legal" change and had a right to be in the game at that moment.

(UPDATE: The NHL rescinded the game misconduct to Milan Lucic after the game, meaning he's not likely to face any sort of a suspension.)

When all was said and done on Saturday afternoon, the Bruins and Canucks combined for over 100 penalty minutes, including four fighting majors, Marchand's major penalty for clipping, two game misconducts and two additional ten-minute misconducts. In other words: just another day at the office for the Bruins.

The Canucks' biggest issue in the Finals last season, when they lost to Boston in seven games, was their inability to score on the power play, scoring on just two of their 31 attempts. If you're going to beat the Bruins (and not many teams have recently) you're going to have to take advantage of the power plays they give you, and on Saturday Vancouver did just that, converting on four of 11 chances thanks to goals from Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Henrik Sedin and Cody Hodgson.

Cory Schneider, a Massachusetts native, was given the surprise start for the Canucks in goal and stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced, which also helped to provide us one of the more bizarre moments of the day. Even though it was Schneider between the pipes for the Canucks, the Bruins faithful spent most of the day heckling Roberto Luongo (despite the fact that, again, he wasn't playing), even starting a "we want Luongo" chant during the second period. The only real negative of the day for Schneider came midway through the second period when he and the Canucks were on the wrong end of a missing icing call by the officials (seen here), leading to Boston's second goal of the game off the stick of Rich Peverely. It was a blown call, but the lesson here is always play to the whistle.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 10:06 am
 

Watch: Joe Thornton messing with Henrik Sedin

By Brian Stubits

One of the more understated rivalries in the NHL lives on the West Coast and has been bred through playoff hate, the battle between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks (those Canucks sure do seem to have a lot of rivalries). So it's not above the players on those teams, even the captains, to engage in a little gamesmanship.

See: Joe Thornton.

The two foes remade acquaintances on Wednesday night in San Jose (a 3-2 Canucks OT win) and it was what hockey people love to call a chippy contest. Lots of shoving, hitting and animosity. But don't forget taunting. Take a look at Thornton during a captain's meeting with he, the referee and the Canucks' Henrik Sedin.

Oh Jumbo Joe, classic move. It harkened back memories to the Stanley Cup Final from the summer when there were all sorts of taunts revolving around Alex Burrows' finger bite of Patrice Bergeron and then also the little pounding that Daniel Sedin took thanks to Brad Marchand.

I laughed at seeing Thornton's schoolyard bully tactics here, reminded me of what a big brother would do to his younger brother, harmless teasing. Obviously Henrik wasn't terribly pleased afterward, barking some words at Thornton as they skated back to the benches.

But this is when I wonder why the Canucks are despised so much. I get why teams aren't fond of them, on-ice action can do that, but the seeming universal hatred doesn't compute with me. It seems more often than not to me the Canucks are the tauntees, for lack of a better word, than taunters. Sure, Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre (maybe Ryan Kesler to an extent) are pesky and annoy, but the Canucks seem to take a lot more than they give.

It just occurred to me, maybe Thornton was trying to show the referee some of the amazing merchandise left over from the Sharks Shopping Network?

Video courtesy of The Score

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 23, 2011 11:55 am
 

No need to 'answer the bell' after good hits

By Brian Stubits

There is a growing trend in hockey and quite frankly, it's stupid. That's the best word I can think of to describe it.

There is a lot of discussion these days in the NHL on fighting and hitting. The two physical aspects of the game were already intertwined, but they seem to be colliding even more these days. With Brendan Shanahan's focus on removing bad hits from the game through the use of his Shanahammer, maybe the players are more on edge and aware of it themselves.

Here's what I don't get. The old-school hockey people continue to complain about these measures taking hitting out of hockey. Players don't seem to want anything to do with that, nor do many fans -- removing hitting, that is.

So why is it that when a player delivers a clean but vicious hit in today's NHL, they have to "answer the bell" as Ryan Kesler of the Canucks put it? I understand fully the concept of a guy having to answer for a bad hit. After all, that's one of the biggest arguments people use for justifying fighting in hockey, the enforcers are out there to discourage the other team from taking cheap shots at your teammates. If any liberties are taken, then you'll have the liberty of meeting the other team's tough guy.

As long as fighting is "allowed" -- I'll play along with Gary Bettman's semantics game that fighting isn't allowed, it is punished -- I have no qualms about a player having to answer to somebody's fists about a bad hit. That's a case of reaping what you sew when you add a couple of the bad stitches into the equation.

But enough is enough with fights after good, clean hits. Nothing is going to take hitting out of the game faster than players having to face a fight for every good check they deliver.

It happens on a seemingly nightly basis in the NHL. The best, most recent example came on Wednesday night in a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks. It was after that game that Kesler talked about answering the bell. What he was referring to was a bit hit levied on him by Niklas Kronwall. Here's a look at the play.

Could the Canucks have some beef with the hit? OK, a little. Kronwall did leave the ice to make the hit, but it was a man coming at him with the puck on his stick. Also, right or wrong, there was no penalty given on the play. Still, Kesler was revved up and obviously wanted a piece of Kronwall.

“I like the hit, but my only problem with the hit is that he doesn’t stand up for himself,” Kesler said. “If you're going hit guys like that, you're going to have to drop the gloves.

“I gotta get my head up. Obviously you see him backing up and you know that’s his move there. I think you have to put the blame on the ‘hittee’ a little bit, but I also think he’s gotta stand up for himself.”

The always vocal Kevin Bieksa put his two cents in on the situation as well.

"Because how sneaky it is, it's a little bit dirty," Bieksa said after the game. "If you're going to do that, you should pay the price and he hasn't paid the price yet. So he loses a little respect in my book."

So let me get this straight: Kesler had no problems with the hit and even implicated himself for part of the responsibility but thinks Kronwall still needs to put his dukes up? Why? Because, as Bieksa puts it, it was sneaky? If you have no problems with the actual hit, then requesting the guy to fight isn't the answer. You guys still have more time to play, you are free to hit Kronwall in return.

Thanks to the magic of HBO and 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic we saw another example of this concept at work.

In the Rangers' recent visit to the Phoenix Coyotes, Mike Rupp was seen laying a good, solid hit along the boards on Kyle Chipchura. Moments later he is being jumped by the Coyotes' Raffi Torres, whereupon the refs immediately come in and are insisting to Torres it was a clean hit from Rupp. (NSFW Warning: In case you didn't know, NHL players -- and the refs -- have potty mouths. You've been warned.)

As a side note, maybe the most interesting part of the second episode was following the refs into their locker room where they discussed the hit a little further.

Now neither of this incident or the Kronwall/Kesler one resulted in a fight, but that wasn't for the lack of trying from the instigators. There have been plenty of other hits this season that have led to fights after what the referees and later the NHL deemed were OK hits.

Quite frankly, players getting aggressive toward others for clean hits is as threatening to hitting in the game as any league official. If guys are going to have to "answer the bell" when players come knocking after a good hit, then in essence the players themselves are discouraging hitting among their fellow athletes.

It almost feels like a machismo thing to me. A guy gets clobbered during play so he has to save face and get the guy back. Not to sound like a cranky old man, but I'm tired of it.

Don't read this as an anti-fighting column. It's not that. Instead it is anti-stupid fighting. Asking guys to drop the gloves are good hits is a waste of time -- literally as the player will have to sit at least five minutes if he gets the fight. Just get back up and play hockey.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Top defensive forwards so far this season

sobotka

By: Adam Gretz

Pucks and Numbers: a weekly statistical look at what's happening around the NHL. This week: A look at three of the top defensive forwards in the NHL this season.

One of the toughest individual awards to win in the NHL over the past four years has been the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is given annually to the best defensive forward in the league. In each of the past three years two of the three finalists have been Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk and Vancouver's Ryan Kesler, while Datsyuk has won it in three of the past four years going back to the 2007-08 season. Kesler won it last season, snapping Datsyuk's run of three consecutive victories.

Whether it's intentional or not, the award almost always seems to go to a player that scores a lot of points. As I pointed out before the season started, Minnesota coach Mike Yeo even acknowledged that fact when discussing Mikko Koivu's chances for the award, saying, "In order to do that [win the award], you have to get a lot of points."

It's kind of like how a lot of Gold Glove winners in baseball are also excellent hitters and run producers, even if there are superior defensive players at the same position. If that seems backwards to you, that's probably because it is.

That's not to take away from the past winners. Players that score a lot are obviously going to get noticed more and have their names in the spotlight more often because of their offensive ability, and that is obviously going to make their other qualities stand out and help influence voting. Still, there are a lot of excellent defensive players in the NHL that, while limited offensively, quietly shut down their opponents and keep them off the scoreboard.

Defense in hockey is still pretty subjective, and a lot of it can depend on your linemates/defensive partners. That said, you can get a pretty good idea which players are strong defensively when taking into account who they're playing against, the situations they play in, and how often they get scored on. For example: If you have two players that are on the ice for a similar number of goals against, but one of them plays against significantly tougher opponents and starts more shifts closer to his own goal, it's a good bet that player is the better defensive player, because even though the goal totals may be similar, he's playing in tougher situations.

We're over a quarter of the way through the season at this point, and here's a look at some of the top defensive performers that have stood out to me so far, taking into account a few of the aforementioned variables: 1) the level of competition they face every night during 5-on-5 play (Corsi Rel QOC), 2) the number of offensive zone starts they get (the lower the number, the tougher the assignments) and 3) the number of goals that are allowed per 60 minutes played when they are on the ice.

(Statistical data via BehindTheNet.ca)


vladimirsobotka1) Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis Blues

Corsi Rel QOC: 1.243

Offensive Zone Starts: 40.6%
Goals Against Per 60 Minutes Played (5-on-5): 1.13

The Blues have been one the best defensive teams in the NHL this season, especially since Ken Hitchcock has taken over behind the bench, allowing the second fewest goals per game and the fewest shots per game in the NHL.

Leading the way has been the 24-year-old Sobotka, a player they acquired from the Boston Bruins in June, 2010, in exchange for David Warsofsky. Sobotka isn't going to light up the scoreboard, and in 224 career games has tallied just 61 points, including only 10 (two goals, eight assists) this season. But nobody scores against him, despite playing the toughest minutes on his own team and some of the toughest minutes in the NHL.

He's also the Blues' best center in the faceoff circle, winning over 54 percent of his draws. His defensive game has improved dramatically so far this season, and he's currently one of the top defensive players on one of the top defensive teams in the league, which is mighty impressive. Even so, he's unlikely to get much attention in the voting because he doesn't score enough to get noticed.

PatriceBergeron2) Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

Corsi Rel QOC: 1.351
Offensive Zone Starts: 43.8%
Goals Against Per 60 Minutes Played (5-on-5): 1.22

My preseason pick to win the Selke, and every year over the past two years he's taken small steps in the voting, finishing fifth two years ago and fourth in 2010-11. If his play through the first two months continues, he should finish even higher this season.

Sometimes it feels like Bergeron has been around forever, but he's still only 26 years old and doesn't turn 27 until July. His career was nearly ruined by concussions, and he's not only rebounded from those early setbacks to once again become a regular in the Boston lineup, he's one of their core players and one of the best defensive centers in the league.

Bergeron dominates the faceoff circle, and as I pointed out on Tuesday, plays in the tough situations against the other team's best players to open the scoring opportunities for Boston's other top forwards, such as Tyler Seguin, to be put into situations where they can focus on offense. There isn't a forward on Boston's roster this season that has a tougher combination of defensive zone starts and consistent ice-time against the other team's best players. And he's still been one of the toughest forwards in the league to score against.

MikkoKoivu3) Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild

Corsi Rel QOC: 1.261
Offensive Zone Starts: 42.1%
Goals Against Per 60 Minutes Played (5-on-5): 1.53

If the Minnesota Wild are going to continue to win games and stay at the top of the Western Conference they're going to have to do it with defense. I'm still not entirely sold on them long-term, mainly due to their lack of offense, but what I am sold on is that Mikko Koivu is one of the better two-way centers in the NHL, and nothing about that has changed this season.

The Wild still use him in the toughest spots against the best players, and along with out-of-this-world goaltending, he's been one of the driving forces behind their surprising start.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 25, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 9:59 pm
 

Sharks join Recchi with opinion on Canucks

By Brian Stubits

Not long ago, Mark Recchi, a member of the Bruins team that beat the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup last season, called the Canucks the most arrogant team he ever played in his 22-season career. Kevin Bieksa took exception to the comments, but a lot of fans agreed.

And so did some of the players.

The San Jose Sharks also ran into the Canucks in the playoffs last season and with each having extended runs at the top of the Western Conference, they have a pretty strong familiarity with each other. So it's no surprise that they would share Recchi's sentiments, maybe only surprising that they would actually admit to it.

Douglas Murray and Ryan Clowe were asked about Recchi's words the day before the Sharks and Canucks meet (on Saturday). Neither was going to disagree with Recchi. From Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area:

“Recchi was obviously a very well-respected player in this league for many years, and still is very respected,” Murray said. “For him saying something like that probably means something.

“It’s not the whole team. It’s certain individuals that give them that reputation. I’m not going to call out names. It’s obvious for anyone that watches the game.”

Well for those who maybe don't watch the Canucks all that closely, you're left to yourself to figure it out, right? Well that's where Clowe comes in.

“They’ve got certain guys, and they have [Maxim] Lapierre there who is known for that," said Clowe. "He’s known to run his mouth and play that sort of game. He doesn’t really like backing that up. You have [Ryan] Kesler and [Alex] Burrows who used to do that a little bit more. Apparently the last year, and last couple of years, they’ve tried to not talk as much and just play.”

Yea, can't say those names are a shock. Remember it was just a week ago that the tandem of Lapierre and Burrows was being accused of some dirty shenanigans against the Senators.

The Canucks are an interesting creature to me. They have clearly become one of the most hated teams in the NHL. Canada, which always seems to embrace its own to win the Cup for the country, almost shunned Vancouver in last year's postseason. Their biggest Stars, the Sedin twins, are pretty much everything you could ask for in model players and faces of your franchise.

It's all the more interesting that the Canucks haven't won a Stanley Cup. Usually such hatred is reserved for the teams that win championships, not runner-ups. Did anybody really hate the Buffalo Bills in the early 1990s (other than their traditional rivals)?

All I know is that the Canucks keep piling up a list of must-see games with every opponent comment.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:01 am
Edited on: October 31, 2011 1:42 am
 

Eye on Hockey Halloween costume contest

By Brian Stubits

Hockey season might be in full swing, but that's no excuse for players not to go out to costume parties sporting their best Halloween outfits.

Considering it is Halloween and all, we figured we would have our own hockey costume contest here at Eye On Hockey. Make your vote and may be the best costume win.

Oh, before we begin, let me just say this is the greatness of Twitter. For those athletes daring enough to share, we get to see things like this which hardly ever saw the light of day before.

First we have Twitter sensation Paul Bissonnette of the Phoenix Coyotes. He is sporting his Hacksaw Jim Duggan outfit with his date dressed as Pocahontas, I believe.

USA! USA! USA!

My take: Kudos for being daring enough to wear that out. It's a solid start and the post makes it better.

Next up on the list is Bissonnette's teammate in Phoenix, Ray Whitney rocking toy soldier outfits with his wife.

Be all that you can be!

My take: This could be a contender here. The costumes are great for starters. But the real kicker is the pose. Whitney's wife has that solider position perfect. You remember that soldier, you always put it on the highest elevation possible.

Third in line is Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. Geno is going with the tried and true costume of the hairy pimp.

Big pimpin', spending Gs.

My take: As I said, a tried and true costume here. I love how both the wig and the mustache are leaning to the side and the sunglasses are a nice touch.

Fourth up is Carolina Hurricanes forward Anthony Stewart as the one and only Chubbs Peterson from Happy Gilmore.

It's all in the hips. It's all in the hips. It's all in the hips.

My take: At the risk of contaminating the voting public, this is my favorite. Stewart nailed Chubbs from the wooden hand to the outfit and even the alligator's eye in the glass container. Chubbs would be proud.

The fifth contestant is Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler as Sylvester the Cat. At least I'm left to assume it's him considering he tweeted it out.

Sufferin' Succotash!

My take: I have to think this one will be on the outside looking in partly based on the photo itself. But at least Kesler didn't go in the same costume as his ESPN the Magazine shoot.

Next up we have recently retired player and former Dallas Stars star Mike Modano trying out an LMFAO costume. You know, the guys who brought you the Body Rock.

Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle! Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle!

My take: I don't know if Modano actually wore this out of the house or not, he tweeted this out a few days before Halloween as a potential costume. But if he was willing to send it out, it counts. Daring is all I'll say. Oh, and please don't wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.

Last up in the contest we present to you the Boston Bruins. Now we already covered this one, but figured it deserved a shot here. For voting purposes, let's just stick with Zdeno Chara in the bunny suit.

"You look like a deranged Easter bunny. He looks like a pink nightmare!"

My take: The homemade touch is great, gives it an authentic feel. But I think this one scared too many people to get enough votes to win.

For the record, Raffi Torres of the Coyotes also dressed up, electing to go with the blackface and dressing up as Jay-Z with his wife as Beyonce. As you might expect, that's drawing a whole lot of criticism for Torres.

Photos: Thanks Twitter!

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:03 pm
 

David Booth meets Vancouver media, talks trade

By Brian Stubits

David Booth met the Vancouver media for the first time since his surprising trade to the Canucks on Saturday. Let's just say it was a far cry from an attention standpoint than any interview he did in Florida.

“No, maybe for the Miami Dolphins, but not for the Florida Panthers," Booth joked.

Much was made over the weekend about Booth reportedly shedding some tears when he was told of the news. Inevitably, the jokes about tears of joy for leaving Florida poured in, but Booth explained why it was so tough for him to hear he was leaving Florida.

"It was an emotional time for me," Booth said. "I live with my brother down in Florida and it's hard to leave him. He's one year younger than me and I grew up my whole life with him.

"It was tough to say goodbye and it is going to be tough for a while.

"I am very close to my family. My dad was down there, too, for the weekend and I'm glad he was. It was good to see him. I have another brother and I am very close with him. My little sister is 16 and a hockey player and she wears No. 7. That's why I chose to be No. 7."

One thing that will help him adapt will be some familiar faces in Vancouver, particularly those who he'll be sharing a line with. Booth goes way back with Ryan Kesler as the two played together growing up in the Detroit area. The other member of his line, Chris Higgins, spent time with the Panthers last season before he, too, was traded to Vancouver. Add in Byron Bitz, Alexander Sulzer and Keith Ballard -- all of whom had stints in Florida recently -- and Booth rightfully joked that if he began the season in Vancouver, he probably would have known more teammates there than in Florida.

As for why he thought he was traded from Florida, where he seemed to be a franchise cornerstone?

“I know they’re turning around the organization. It takes some time. [GM Dale Tallon] has his way of doing things and I wasn’t part of it. That’s all right. You can’t please everybody. ... There are 28 other teams I could’ve went to. I’m glad I came here."

For those counting at home, that leaves Stephen Weiss as the only player who played significant time with the Panthers during the 2008-09 season.

Booth is scheduled to make his debut with the Canucks on Tuesday night in Edmonton.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com