Everyone around Ryan Kesler believes he is going to make a full recovery. His surgeon, Dr. Marc Phillipon, a renowned hip specialist who has treated stars like Alex Rodriguez, Greg Norman, Mario Lemieux and, most recently, elite sprinter Tyson Gay, believes he should be "as good as new."
All of the news for Kesler following last week's surgery is encouraging. He's a quick healer and he's been through this before.
If the Sedins are the pilots, engineers and mechanics who keep the Canucks churning over the course of a season, Kesler is the engine. He's all pistons, cylinders and air pumps. He's the do-it-all centre who plays the biggest minutes, does the spade work on the all-too important power play and kills penalties.
Defensively, offensively, PK, power play, a grinding game, faceoffs - he just did it all for the Canucks last year.
It's been remarkable to watch him improve in several ways over the years. You've heard, by now, the stories of the thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, of shots he's taken in his garage in the offseason to get that wrister down. It's not just his shot. He sees the ice better and learned to play net-front, too.
But what has set Kesler apart, what has made him a Selke winner and enabled Kesler to do things like dominate the Nashville Predators in a series, is his fitness. The guy is a horse. He is often better than his opponents because he can outlast them. He can wear them down and when you're feeling it in the third period, he is not.
This is what Jeff Tambellini once told me:
"The guy just doesn't get tired. It doesn't matter if you double-shift him. It doesn't matter if he's on the PK, and then on 5-on-5. This guy has the stamina like I have never ever seen. It's fun to watch."
To get that, it takes unrelenting work in the offseason. But this summer, Kesler's routine is off. Oh, he will be working, but it will be part of his recovery from that hip surgery, which usually takes about three months. All of this leads to some questions about his season and only one real answer.
Kesler could use some help on the Canucks' second line following surgery
Vancouver Province | Aug 4