One of Ryan Kesler’s calling cards is his ability to create headaches for opponents. He’s physical and he’s an antagonizer and can be quite an annoyance for the guys he’s matched up against. It’s something he’s done well this postseason.
It didn’t take the Predators’ Ryan Johansen very long to get sick of Kesler’s antics, as the Nashville center sounded off on Kesler following Game 2 of the Western Conference Final in Anaheim on Sunday.
“I mean, it just blows my mind watching,” Johansen said after the Ducks tied the series at one game apiece, via USA Today.
“I don’t know what’s going through his head over there. Like his family and his friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that. It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game. I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey, and it sucks when you’ve got to pull a stick out of your groin every shift.”
Johansen and Kesler butted heads — literally and figuratively — from the opening face-off on Sunday night.
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 14, 2017
Johansen tallied a goal and an assist in Nashville’s loss, but he was clearly frustrated by the way that Kesler played him all night long. It’s not hard to understand when you get a look at plays like this one. Kesler has a lot of nasty in his game.
— Grady Sas (@GradySas) May 15, 2017
As for the Ducks’ center…well, he didn’t seem too apologetic about anything that went down.
“I play hard, he obviously doesn’t like that,” Kesler said about Johansen in a postgame interview.
In fairness, Predators players weren’t the only ones pulling sticks out of their groins in Game 2.
We could see things get real contentious if this series continues down the path it’s on.