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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:12 pm

Sports Illustrated | January 31, 2011

Ryan Kesler: A Whole New Game

The Canucks are one of the NHL's hottest teams, and a big reason is that one of the league's hottest heads, Ryan Kesler, has decided to chill out. Turns out taking the edge off his temper hasn't taken it off his play.

"You've got a kid and another on the way," Mike said. "What would they think of you if they saw you breaking your stick after you missed a breakaway?"

It was exactly what his son needed to hear. "That really put things into perspective for me," Ryan says, smiling. "You don't want your kids thinking you're a hothead or anything like that. You're supposed to be the mature one and set a good example.... So from then on out, I've been this positive person who doesn't get rattled. Even my friends see a change. And, uh, they like the new me." He chuckles.

Kesler wasn't laughing when he began the season without so much as an assist through the Canucks' first four games. Skating away from scrums became almost unbearable for a player who had grown accustomed to a life in the middle of them. "I knew it was part of my game that I had to let go," he says. "[But] it was definitely pretty hard to try this new thing when you're not having success."

When Kesler finally scored in the third period of the fifth game, a one-timer from the top of the left circle on a power play, "it felt like a thousand pounds lifted off my shoulders," he says. The goal itself was rather insignificant—the last in a 5--1 win over the Hurricanes—but it gave him confidence that his new approach wouldn't dilute his play.

Kesler now acknowledges that, if anything, reserving his focus and energy for his play between the whistles has probably strengthened his game. "As far as him playing with an edge, him playing with grit and being physical and feisty when he needs to be," Vigneault says, "that hasn't changed one iota."

Read the rest of the article here:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ ... /index.htm


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