VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Canucks will battle Ryan Kesler and the Anaheim Ducks tonight at Rogers Arena. It marks the return of the centre who spent the first ten seasons of his career in Canucks colours.
“When you play with guys for 10 years, you grow a bond and friendship that is never broken,” says Kesler. “We are on separate teams now and friends off the ice, and enemies off the ice. I think the biggest thing is putting on a different uniform and being the visiting team in this building. It is going to be different.”
Kesler’s exit from Vancouver wasn’t exactly smooth. The disgruntled forward demanded a trade last season, but forced the Canucks hand when he would only accept a trade to a handful of teams, thanks to a no-trade clause. Kesler admits he isn’t sure what kind of reception he will get from the Canucks crowd, but he wouldn’t be surprised either way.
“It is going to be an emotional night for me. If they boo me it will probably jack me up even more. It is going to be fun. It is going to be an intense night and I am looking forward to it.”
Despite the bad break-up between Kesler and the Canucks, he says he will also cherish his time in Vancouver and the support from the fans.
“Thank you for your support and continued support. I’m sure a lot of people are going to remember the bad times, but remember the good and the ten years I put on the Canucks uniform. I can honestly say I left everything out there every night.”
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau says Kesler has immediately made an impact in Anaheim.
“He has been great for us. He has fit in with the guys really well. I think he has been playing well over 20-minutes a night and he has been one of the main reasons that we are still in the position that we are in.”
The Canucks are coming off a 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers last night.
The puck drops at 7 p.m.. You can watch it on Sportsnet Vancouver. Listen for game updates every 10 minutes on the fives.