Ryan Kesler has never been afraid to speak out when he’s not happy about coaching decisions.
When he was moved from centre to right wing last year, Canucks’ Assistant GM Laurence Gilman said Kes had played some of his best hockey at wing. Kesler didn’t like the move, and we still remember his retort:
“Maybe that’s because I was playing with a hall-of-famer.” (He was referring to Mats Sundin, his centre at the time).
Near the end of Alain Vigneault’s tenure, Kesler didn’t shy away from saying the team needed a new voice.
Now, three months into John Tortorella’s first season as coach of the Canucks, Kes may be at it again.
Following Thursday’s demoralizing 1-0 loss against Phoenix, the night after their 9-1 slaughtering in Orange County, one thing he said raised some eyebrows (saw this in The Provies).
“We need to practise. Practise makes perfect and that gains confidence for the game.”
Keeping in mind one of Tortorella’s key philosophies has been to have his team lead the league in days off, it sure looks like Kesler is calling Torts out.
Does his comment have any merit?
Consider Daniel Sedin’s power play chance in the second period against Phoenix. If he were confident, that puck would be snapped off his stick straight into the top corner of the net in a split second. But that didn’t happen. Instead, he missed the wide open net.
One timers, power-play formations, and just feeling comfortable with the puck – these are things that are worked on in practice.
That’s right. We talkin ’bout practice.
Kesler may have a point.
Confidence is another potential issue for the Canucks right now, but Torts disagreed with the suggestion in today’s pre-game presser:
“I’m not interested in the conversation about confidence.”
“It’s not about you have to feel perfect. You have to find a way to get yourself ready to win one game tonight, and that’s against Calgary.”
It’s funny, because if the Canucks have a big night tonight, not only beating Calgary, but scoring a few goals in the process, it will definitely give his players some confidence.
Pretty sure Torts understands that too, and would love to see the Sedins “feeling it” a little more…
So maybe he’s just not interested in having conversations about it?