Friday, May 13, 2011

Mentally Tough Performer of the Week (Week 4) - Ryan Kesler

We continue to see great performances in these 2011 NHL Playoffs. Datsyuk has been dazzling with the puck. Niemi and Howard both have played outstanding between the pipes. But the Mentally Tough Performer of the Week for Week 4 is Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. He is doing everything the Canucks need on the run to win their 1st Stanley Cup. Winning faceoffs. Killing penalties. Scoring brilliant goals on the rush. Grinding down low. Scoring an OT goal. Playing with great energy and intensity. Kesler is leading his team.

Kesler is having an outstanding playoff season despite the talk about him not scoring in the playoffs and being a bit of a disappointment. I thought those comments were harsh since he usually plays against the other team's top line and has defense-first responsibility. No matter; against the Preds Kesler raised his game big time and played like a man on a mission. Nashville Coach Barry Trotz described Kesler's superior play as;"six of the most incredible games you will ever see". If you want to read more about Kesler's playoff efforts go to

The Sharks better be prepared to match Kesler's intensity in the Conference Finals or they will find themselves down early in the series. Kesler and the Canucks will be rested, but not too rested. The Sharks, on the other hand, played a physically and an emotionally draining series. It will be interesting to see their legs and focus in Game 1.

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