|THE VANCOUVER SUN
|Kesler gets back on ice after vicious cross-check
Brad Ziemer, as well as everyone else affiliated with the Canucks, are relieved that Ryan Kesler does have the strength to play tonight’s game in Edmonton.
Ziemer said, “Kesler was back at practice Thursday morning, about 12 hours after taking a vicious cross-check to the face courtesy of Philadelphia winger Jesse Boulerice.”
“Everyone, including Boulerice, expects a suspension. The question is how long it should be. Not surprisingly, the consensus in the Canuck dressing room on Thursday was that Boulerice should be gone for a long while.”
Although suspension seems to be at the top of the list for Boulerice, since Kesler first lay still on the ice, players are explaining to Ziemer how a suspension should be brought up.
"I don't think that should matter," Linden said. "I don't know why that should have anything to do with it. If we are going to react on what the injury is, that's the wrong thing. The action is what is punishable. Just because he's not hurt -- and we should be thankful for that -- that doesn't minimize the action. The action was severe and that's what you have to judge it on."
|Kesler not the first to suffer
Jason Botchford brought a crude awakening to the Ryan Kesler hit from Jesse Boulerice, as it was not his first violent act on the ice.
Botchford said, “If people had listened to Andrew Long, if they had heeded his warnings, if they had granted his one wish, the horrifying cross-check Ryan Kesler took to the face would have never happened.”
“That's because Long never wanted Jesse Boulerice to play hockey again. Not after Boulerice wielded his stick like a battle axe, two-handing Long flush in the face -- nearly killing him -- nine years ago in an Ontario Hockey League playoff game. It remains one of the most shocking, disturbing, and violent acts in hockey history.”
Fortunately enough, Kesler’s stick to the face wasn’t as severe as Long’s.
“Long was knocked unconscious. He suffered a seizure. He suffered a grade-three concussion, a brain contusion, multiple facial fractures and two black eyes. He needed 20 stitches, had a crushed nasal cavity and was left with a blood spot on his brain,” Botchford recorded.
"I almost died," says Long. "It was within a couple of inches either way of happening. If I would have seen him, my natural reaction would have been to tip my head back and if I did that and he hit me in the neck, I would have been dead on impact.”
"If it was two inches higher and I died, what would he have got then?"
Botchford notes that, “Boulerice was suspended for a year by the OHL. But he played the next year anyway in the AHL after sitting out 15 games.”
|Canucks ‘lazy and stupid’ – frustrated GM Nonis.
Jason Botchford captures the frustration streaming through all the minds of unsatisfied Canuck members.
Botchford said, “During his weekly segment on a Vancouver morning radio show, Nonis took his players to task for their effort in the 8-2 fright night against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.”
"Last year, we prided ourselves on being an incredibly hard-working and intelligent team," Nonis said on the show. "And I thought (Wednesday) night, and for much of the first game as well, we were neither.”
"We were lazy and stupid. That's something you can't put up with."
"Since I've been here, seven or eight years, I can't remember a game like that," Brendan Morrison said. "It's a wake-up call."
"As a player, you have that responsibility to get yourself prepared to play," Vigneault said. "There were a lot of guys who mentioned they didn't work hard enough and they didn't prepare properly. It's their responsibility.”
|Top goal-scorer Shannon sent down to minors
As a player most of Vancouver was rooting for, Jason Botchford broke the news about this 5’8” professional hockey player.
“In need of a sacrificial lamb for their effort Wednesday, the Vancouver Canucks sent their leading goal-scorer to the minors,” Botchford said.
“Ryan Shannon, who's scored two goals and has probably been the Canucks most-dangerous offensive weapon, was re-assigned to Manitoba following the 8-2 debacle against Philadelphia.”
"After an 8-2 loss there's going to be some causalities," head coach Alain Vigneault said. "In our situation it's probably the easy thing to do for us, in the sense you have a player who's scored two goals on the power play, yes, but he's on a two-way contract."
However, Botchford notes that, “Shannon did struggle at times playing even-strength hockey. He had a team worst minus-7 rating. But what really did him in was his contractual situation.”
"To give you an honest answer [as to why he was sent down], he has two games left before he needs waivers. It's the beauty of the game sometimes," Vigneault said sarcastically. "It's probably not fair either. I agree with that."
"He did say 'I'll see you soon’…He's going to go down and he's going to work hard," Vigneault said. "And he's going to be one of the top players there. Depending on how things work out, we'll see from there.”