Ryan Kesler is hardly the only player to resort to embellishment in this year’s NHL playoffs. Every team has been accused of diving at least once, with two clubs even being penalized for it: the Pittsburgh Penguins, for a Kris Letang dive, and the Detroit Red Wings, for some Jiri Hudler acting. Furthermore, Brad Marchand’s performance in Game 3 versus the Washington Capitals was like an interactive museum exhibit on embellishment.
Still, Kesler’s dives have stood out. He may not be the worst diver, but he’s definitely the best. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a dive as ostentatious as the one he pulled in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal, for instance, when he attempted to draw a penalty on Mike Richards by engaging the Kings’ forward skating backwards, then doing a full-on, flailing, stick-throwing barrel roll as the two exited the Canucks’ zone. It bordered on performance art.
And, like all good art, it inspired other artists — in this case, the .gif-makers over at the HF Boards. For the second straight year, Ryan Kesler has become a meme over there. It’s not quite Ryan Kesler Did This, but the Kesler tumbleweed meme is still pretty darn funny. What follows are 6 of my favourites examples.
6. Kesler and some ducks
In this gif, a mother duck fights to keep her ducklings together as the wind blows them away. Then, suddenly, Ryan Kesler tumbles through even faster. (His bones must be twice as hollow.) The best thing about this one is the way the sight of Kesler seems to distract the mother enough to lose her footing as well.
5. Kesler comes through the glass
It wasn’t fans banging on the glass that caused that pane to drop on David Krejci. It was clumsy old Ryan Kesler, tumbling down the TD Garden steps.
4. Kesler takes down Gaborik
Marian Gaborik streaks in alone when suddenly a wild Kesler appears! Lucky break for the Red Wings. Or was it? Sure, this may look like an accident, but Kesler’s from Michigan. I think he did it on purpose.
3. Kesler flies into the lake
This one is just unbelievably well-done, right down to the way Kesler stiffens up before he hits the water.
2. Kesler takes down Phaneuf
One of hockey’s greatest gifs ever gets Kesler’d, as the Canucks’ centre tumbles by the team benches just as Dion Phaneuf drops the gloves to go with Jaarko Ruutu. I like the way Ruutu seems to step out of Kesler’s way just in time.
1. Kesler caught in a tornado
Wherein Kesler makes a cameo appearance in the historic storm-chaser film, Twister. This one is just flawless. I like the way he loses his stick right in front of the windshield.Tags: diving, gifs, hf boards, Levity, Ryan Kesler, ryan kesler dives best, tumbleweed