Ryan Kesler talks California living; John Tortorella's dogs; Sedin symmetry (Puck Daddy Interview)

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Ryan Kesler talks California living; John Tortorella's dogs; Sedin symmetry (Puck Daddy Interview)
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Ryan Kesler has a pretty solid wry sense of humor.

It doesn’t often come out, since the Anaheim Ducks center was known somewhat for his prickly persona in Vancouver. But it’s there, and sometimes you get some pretty good comedy.

This is important for a player during an 82-game NHL season. Being able to find humor and keep it loose helps one cope through injuries, losses, timezone travel and battles with coaches and teammates.

Kesler came to the Ducks this offseason via trade as sort of a missing link, a savior for Anaheim to help the Ducks match the Los Angeles Kings' depth at center as Anaheim tries to make a run at the Stanley Cup before its window closes.

So far, he has provided this with eight points in 13 games, while playing behind leaders Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

We caught up with Kesler, via phone, while he was on an exercise bike in Denver, and asked him about some choice topics. Some had to do with hockey, but mostly about life, photobombing, the Sedin twins, and John Tortorella walking dogs in Point Roberts, Wsh.

Q: The Ducks have more of an orange color scheme this year on their primary jerseys. What do you think about how it looks on you? 

Kesler: I like it, I like the new jerseys they have this year. I wasn’t a big fan of the ones last year, so it’s good they have some decent jerseys this year.

I’m so used to wearing blue all these years, it definitely took a bit to wrap my mind around it.

When you did the 'Kes-lurk' that was when the term ‘photobombing’ was in its infancy. Do you think you are one of the first ‘photobombers’ in social media’s history?

I guess you could say that. I was just thinking about that today and bringing it back, but didn’t get a chance.

Please, can you bring it back? We loved it.

I’ll think about it.

What brought it on?

It was just a spur of the moment kind of thing. I think it started with Raffi Torres, and I was walking past him (eating pizza), and I just thought it would be funny. That’s how it started, and it just took on a mind of its own.

What’s your favorite pose? I think mine is the ‘Captain Morgan’ one.

That one is pretty good. It would have to be my favorite too.

You have a pretty good dry sense of humor. How has that been developed over the years, and how does that help you with the grind of an 82-game season? 

You want to keep it loose. It’s a grind, right? You want to win, you want to work hard, but you also want to have fun at the same time, and I don’t think I portray myself to the media as a ‘fun-going’ guy in the locker room, or anything, but I like to have a good time with the guys and joke around. When it’s time for business is when it’s time to get serious.

Now to hockey … you’re a guy who could probably be a first-line center on a lot of teams, but you always end up in a second-line role. Are you comfortable with that … being asked to always play a second-line role?

You want to be ‘the’ guy, but I saw a good situation here in Anaheim. I don’t really think of it as No. 1 and No. 2. I think of it as 1a and 1b. (Ryan) Getzlaf is world class, and he is obviously a great player. I saw a good situation with us being both big down the middle and we could be dangerous together.

Speaking of Ducks' first-line players, you were drafted five spots ahead of Corey Perry in 2003. In spite of all his trophies and awards, is that something you can always hold over his head?

(Laughs) I hadn’t thought of that actually. Thanks for bringing that up. Now I have something on top of him now. I can definitely bring that up.

When you played with the Sedins in Vancouver, is there anything they did where they finished each other’s sentences, or just seemed to weirdly know what the other was thinking?

They’re great guys. I’ve never seen them get mad at each other, never seen them yell at each other. They’re world-class guys and obviously world-class players. I played with them for a lot of years, and they’re good friends.

Is there anything they did in a game and you were like ‘whoa?’

It was probably once every four or five games where they did something like that – that you didn’t think was possible and they pulled something special out of their (butts).

You’re from the United States, you lived in Vancouver. I always thought it was funny that (your former coach) John Tortorella lived in Point Roberts and would reportedly often walk his dogs in his neighborhood…

(Laughs) You know what, Torts was a good man, and I think he gets a bad rap in the media. Obviously he made a mistake there in Calgary, but I had a really good relationship with him. Like I said, he just gets a bad rap.

Oh, I get that … but just the mental image of him walking dogs in Point Roberts?

Oh yeah, I think the dogs he’s walking are like 200 pounds each, so obviously it would be a scary sight.

That would still probably be a good calming mechanism though?

Yeah. Obviously Torts isn’t the biggest man, but I guess it’s a good calming mechanism. Maybe he didn’t walk them the day of that Calgary game.

Did you ever consider living in Point Roberts? It is sort of the American enclave near Vancouver.

I was Vancouver through and through. I lived there for 11 years and nine different homes.

And never thought of living in Point Roberts?

For tax reasons maybe (laughs), but never.

The U.S. mid-term elections are coming up this week. Did you vote when you lived in Vancouver?

I didn’t vote. It was just too hard. That’s one thing I wish I would have done, but at the end of the day it was too hard. I’m definitely going to vote this time out.

What has it been like being a kid from Livonia, Michigan, and spending your professional hockey life on the West Coast?

Obviously I’ve lived in two pretty good cities. I’ve been lucky that way. Anaheim is amazing. The weather is beautiful every day and the people are passionate about hockey down here. It’s good to see.

What do you like the most about West Coast living?

Just the weather, it’s amazing. You can’t beat the weather. Even with the Vancouver rain every other day, it was still warm. I became soft over the years. I’m not looking forward to when I’m retired and moving to Michigan.


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