Brief history of Ryan Kesler-Ryan Johansen feud

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We don’t know if Ryan Kesler will play this coming season, but we do know one thing about the Anaheim Ducks forward: He does not get along with Ryan Johansen of the Nashville Predators.

The two continued their feud via Twitter on Sunday with a curious interaction.

Kesler, who hadn’t sent anything but a retweet since February, took a break from his summer to shoot a question Johansen’s way:

It’s not quite a “Meet me in Temecula” moment, but what kind of street fight are talking about here? A Kimbo Slice kind or a E. Honda vs. Blanka one?

Johansen replied, though not directly, a few hours later:

Just when you thought the rest of August was going to be boring in the hockey world…

Please recall that during the 2017 Western Conference Final the relationship between the two took a nasty turn as the series featured them going at one another physically and verbally.

When asked if Kesler went over the line, Johansen said, “I mean he just blows my mind. I mean watching – I don’t know what’s going through his head out there but like his family and his friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that. It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game, so I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey and it sucks when you gotta pull a stick out of your groin every shift.”

Kesler heard those comments and pointed out he wasn’t seeking friendship. “He’s not my friend. He’s not going to be my friend. He can say whatever he wants,” he said.

Mic’d up during that series, Johansen was caught telling Kesler, “You’re a f——— loser, nobody likes you.” So you can see why they won’t be sharing pops at the cottage anytime soon.

(Fun fact: Both share Kurt Overhardt as an agent.)

Johansen would be injured in Game 4 of that 2017 series and miss the rest of the postseason as the Predators beat the Ducks to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. “I’m just happy we were able to beat them. I wish I could have been in the line to shake their hands,” he said days after the series concluded.

That wasn’t the end of the rough stuff between the two, of course. Kesler, a noted pest, isn’t one to let things go, especially when you consider part of his job is taking opponents off of their game. So when the Ducks visited the Predators in March, they dropped the mitts for what was ruled a “fight”:

The Ducks host the Predators on Nov. 12 and while we wait to see if Kesler will be healthy enough to play, we’ll have to see if they keep their feud to the social media world.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.