After the first period of Vancouver’s pre-season opener Monday there were a few of us in the media thinking an apology to former coach Alain Vigneault needed to be dispatched.

All this time spent giving him the gears for overplaying Ryan Kesler and then watching Kes break down at the end of the season was apparently a big mistake. Turns out AV was taking it easy on him short-shifting the guy as though he was Sami Salo.

With Mike Sullivan and Glen Gulutzan at the helm RK 17 turned in a 10-minute first period that given the obvious lack of import of the game surely had to raise some eyebrows. Having realized the horror of what had just taken place they backed off a little the rest of the game leaving his total ice time for the game at 26:26
fully 25 faceoffs taken.

But this kind of use certainly underlines how seductive it is for coaches to play and overplay this guy who can do everything when there are a lot of power plays and penalty-killing situations. It further illustrated just how important it is to fight this temptation.

What was particularly amazing about the first-period ice time was that it was coming on the heels of this collective torching the team has undergone during the John Tortorella training camp that has featured bag skates disguised as ‘tests.’ This certainly has taken most of the players out of their comfort zone and there’s nothing wrong with that in this city but it surely must have left their legs a
little heavy for this tilt.

“It was a little busy yeah” said Kesler of the period eventually claiming to be fine with it. But he’s always been fine with it. It’s his body that has had a little trouble keeping up the pace.