This probably won’t come as much of a shock to you, but Ryan Kesler has a reputation around the NHL as a diver. (I think it has something to do with the way he occasionally falls down by choice, but makes it look like someone else made him do it. Maybe. I don’t know.)
Fair or not, it would appear that he’s not just a suspected diver: he’s one of the best suspected divers. (Or worst, if you’re a real Debbie Downer, but we see the bright side of things here at Pass it to Bulis.) And, according to a report by Darren Dreger, Kesler’s reputation as a top-flight faller-downer could very well mean that his picture will soon be posted in every NHL dressing room around the league, like some sort of outlaw or dude banned from SeaWorld. From TSN:
[...] when the NHL lockout ends, players who have a tendency to embellish may be in for a surprise.
Players, coaches, managers and officials who participated in league meetings in August agreed embellishment has once again become an issue.
Hey! Kevin Bieksa participated in those meetings! Perhaps this will benefit the Canucks?
Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler has been identified as an offender. While Kesler plays the game hard, he has been known to exaggerate contact to gain an advantage.
[...] Everything from posting pictures of each culprit in every NHL dressing room to re-instituting a fine system, or simply tacking on an additional two-minute penalty to offset the original call is being discussed by hockey operations and will at some point be presented to all NHL general managers for further discussion.
Dreger also mentioned some other names — Daniel Carcillo and Evgeni Malkin, surprisingly — but Kesler was the first one off his lips.
It’s not all that surprising. Kesler’s embellishment was a special kind of memorable during the first round of the 2012 postseason, when he did everything in his power to draw a whistle and give the Canucks a chance to get on the board.
In a sense, you can’t blame him. With Daniel Sedin out, the Canucks were having a hard time generating much in the way of quality chances, and they do that particularly well on the powerplay. Furthermore, Kesler was struggling, and I’d wager that his desire to be an impact player when his body wasn’t cooperating overruled his judgment a little. He definitely took a step back in terms of clean play.
In another sense, you can totally blame him, because, like, he dove. Also, he wasn’t very sneaky about it. This dive was so blatant it inspired a meme. We got two posts out of it.
Now, in Kesler’s defence, he had shoulder surgery as soon as this series was over. When he’s healthy, he’s a way better actor. Normally, he’s Michael Caine in Alfie: smooth. On this one, he was Michael Caine in Jaws 4: The Revenge: so bad it made you wonder why the people running the franchise didn’t say something.
Unfortunately, bad acting tends to stay with people. After an infamous incident like this, it’s really no wonder Kesler’s been singled out by a committee of players looking at diving, even if one member of the committee is a teammate. No doubt the moment this incident came up, Bieksa had no choice but to condemn it or recuse himself.
My guess is the league won’t go ahead with the “photo in every dressing room” rule. That seems a little over the top to me, a little childish. (My guess is it only came up because the meetings were in in Toronto, and that city loves to shame.) But photo or no photo, whatever happens with this embellishment witch hunt, Kesler’s the first guy headed to the stake. Now might be a good time to change his ways.
Or he could go along with it and let the burning commence. I mean, he already knows how to stop, drop and roll.
s/t to Puck Daddy.Tags: diving, Ryan Kesler, ryan kesler dives best