Ok, it has long been known in these here parts that in Canuck colours (whichever those colours may be) that wearing the number 17 comes at a price. I know, I know, the number on a players back has no reflection of his statics or play on the ice, but come on. Number 17 for Vancouver has brought on nothing but bad luck for whom ever may choose to wear it. The only exception may be Petri Skriko and even at that, unless you are a Canuck fan you are sitting there scracthing your head wondering "Who on earth is Petri Skriko?"
Checking the Canucks 'All-Time Numbers' section at Canucks.com reads the following list of failed attempts at wearing the number:
Drake Berehowsky, Lonny Bohonos, Jerry Butler, Drew Callander, Jimmy Carson, Jose Charbonneau, Tony Currie, Larry Gould, Jan Hlavac, Todd Hawkins, Ryan Kesler, Jason King, Paul Lawless, Bill Muckalt, Rob Murphy, Paul O’Neill, Mike Ridley, Jeff Rohlicek, Ron Sedlbauer, Danny Seguin, Vadim Sharifijanov, Patrik Sundstrom, Vladimir Krutov, Dixon Ward, Ron Ward, Doug Wickenheiser, John Wright, Howie Young.
To this I say...
Berehowsky, good prospect - not a pro; Bohonos, lit the lamp everywhere but the NHL; Carson, missed the 1994 Cup run due to injury; Charbonneau, I do remember him but can't for the life of me remember what happened to him; Hlavac, potential means you sit in Crawford dog house; King, another prospect gone wrong; Muckalt, see King; Murphy, see King; Ridley, was playing with Mogilny and Bure got hurt and never recovered; Sundstrom, can't say that it hurt him too bad plus he was the trade bait for Kirk Mclean and Greg Adams; Krutov, had an addiction to the PNE Coliseum hot dogs (yeah, hot dogs).
That was becoming long winded, long story short, Ryan Kesler has been poised to become a solid NHLer for a few years now and after siging a huge ticket in the off-season the pressure has been on him to produce. Way back in October Kes decided to change his number from 20 - 17 and it has really been downhill ever since. He did not have the best start to the season (16 points in 48 games) and the media and fans were on him.
After the Christmas break, the Canucks caught fire and Kesler was part of it. Although he did not fill the net he was playing hard, his forecheck (along with Cooke) were leading the team to some hard fought victories,and then it happend. Some where around the All-star break, the cursed kicked in, Kes needed hip surgery. Many people suggested that the Canucks would not miss the lack of production from the 6' 2" forward, but they definately started to miss his speed and strength.
As the playoffs came closer, we all started to hear rumblings that he may return in time for round 1. Then as the days drew closer to April 11th, we started to hear that if he was to return it wouldn't be until Game 6 or 7, if he's lucky. Little did we know, as we all prepared to watch Wednesday's marathon, Kesler was a late addition to the Canucks line-up. Welcome back Kes!...Not!
Kesler's return to the line-up was short lived, at some point during the telecast (I believe it was in the overtime) CBC reported the Kesler had gone to the Canucks dressing room favouring his hand. I remember thinking to myself "It's just a stinger". I was wrong, Kesler had dislocated his finger and would require surgery, maybe he will be back...in 4 - 5 weeks.
For anyone that does not think that the Canucks will miss Kesler's contributions to the team, please take note of 5 hits that he laid out in Wednesday's game. That was the second most on the team, this from a guy who is coming off of HIP surgery. Laying out bodychecks, if you haven't played contact hockey, you use your HIP in the process of making a bodycheck. His speed and strength will sorely be missed, unless someone steps in. Not to mention that the Canucks are already missing Cooke and Burrows (due to injury) who are also strong on the forecheck.
With all that being said, I return to my intial point. Is the number 17 cursed in Vancouver? I sure hope not, Kesler's value to this team will never be measured in goals and assists, but rather hits and takeaways. I sure hope that he does not join the list of those who have succummed to the curse.