Back in January, Canucks center Ryan Kesler got a bit snippy after his coach, Alain Vigneault, told reporters the Selke Trophy winner needed to “use the players around him a bit more.” (Which was a nice way of telling him to stop being such a puck hog.)
“I don’t know what [Vigneault] means by that,” Kesler said. “If he wants to say that, he can come to me and talk to me about it.”
Well, perhaps Vigneault did talk to him, because Kesler admits today that sharing the puck more has helped his game.
“Using my wingers has allowed my game to be more complete and improve my vision,” he told The Province. “The last couple of months it’s been there and it’s been solid.”
Of course, Kesler’s numbers – one assist in his last 13 games – appear to belie his newfound commitment to passing. And certainly there remain times he could distribute the puck instead of taking it himself or forcing a shot. But hey, the first step is admitting you have a problem.
Oh, and if his regular winger, David Booth, could capitalize on the odd brilliant scoring chance, that would help, too.
Kesler remains one of the premier shutdown forwards in hockey, and to be fair he’s still feeling the effects of offseason hip surgery.
However, the Canucks will need more offensively out of their second-line center in the playoffs, particularly five on five. So far only 28 of his 48 totals points have have come at even strength, ranking him seventh on the team in that category.
It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.
Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible:
Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.
Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.
As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.
Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.
“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”
Commodore wasn’t done there:
And there was much, much more.
To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.