by Tyler Rowe
He was injured, obviiiii. We knew that Kesler had a history of not fessing-up to the media about being hurt until the battle is over, as when last year when we found out that he would need surgery after The Finals That Musn’t Be Named, Part III, and it would seem things were no different this time around. Reports are out that Kesler played the final third of the season with a torn labrum (“a lip-like projection of cartilage on the human scapula surrounding the joint between the humerus and the shoulder blade”. Thanks Wiki); you can call Ryan Kesler a vain, pizza-eating show-stealer, but you can’t call him an excuse-maker. Also like last year, Kesler can look forward to a long summer without being able to fully train, if at all. The doctors have his recovery at six months, which would bring him back around the beginning of December, a full six weeks later than his return in 2011-12. The Canucks looked dismal last autumn in awaiting Kesler’s return and subsequent readjustment to full-time hockey this season, and if he returns on December 8th next season, it will be with at least 25 games in Vancouver’s rear-view on the schedule, good for nearly a third of the next movement.
Of course, after an unceremonious ousting by the good-as-they-should-have-been-from-the-get-go 2011-12 L.A. Kings, plus all the Luongo/Schneider talk, and the uncertain futures of Manny Malhotra, Mason Raymond, Keith Ballard and even coach Alain Vigneault, Vancouver is bound for at least some changes. Calls to blow up the roster of the consecutive President’s Trophy winner are reactionary, childish drivel of course, but I think we can agree that there will be at least some changes. What Vancouver Canucks team that Ryan Kesler comes back to could have a lot to do with their chances to right the ship in the 2012-13 campaign. But what is the correct course of action for #17 himself? Kesler beat his return date from his 2011 hip surgery by weeks, but perhaps never fully healed. His 2010-11 campaign saw him record 41 goals and 32 assists in 82 games, but in 2011-12 Kesler only managed 22 goals and 27 assists over 77 games.
Ryan Kesler has shown he’s the kind of guy who is willing to play the game he loves at all costs. Lets hope the Vancouver Canuck medical staff can help him see the long view. I for one would rather have a fully healthy RK17 for 50 games than an 80% healthy one for 82. For whatever Mike Gillis gets done this summer, let’s have Kesler come back when he’s good and ready, huh?