We have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the NHL’s online services, you agree to these updated documents and to the arbitration of disputes.
Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
Username or EmailPassword

Kesler: Timing wasn't right to drop gloves

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Share with your Friends

Kesler: Timing wasn't right to drop gloves
Ryan Kesler said he's willing to fight anyone in the League, Joe Thornton included, but he'd rather settle those scores during the regular season instead of sitting in the box at an important point in the playoffs.
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Joe Thornton joked Wednesday morning that he was "shocked, very shocked" Ryan Kesler didn't want to fight him before the opening faceoff in Game 1. Thornton also said he probably won't try the same tactic if the two are in on the opening draw tonight in Game 2 Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, CBC, VERSUS, RDS).

"Maybe Devin (Setoguchi) wants to fight somebody," Thornton said laughing.

Well, it's not going to be Kesler, that's for sure.

"If (Thornton) wants to fight me, obviously I play him four times a year -- he can fight me next year," Kesler said after the Canucks' optional morning skate at Rogers Arena.

Kesler thinks Thornton was just "trying to be tough." He said he was "surprised he asked me" to fight.

Kesler admitted that maybe a few years ago he would have dropped the mitts with Thornton right then and there, but he's different now.

"I fought (Jarome) Iginla. I've fought a lot of tough guys, (Ian) Laperriere," he said. "I'm not scared of anybody out there. I'll fight anybody, but now is not the time."

Kesler's teammates are happy he didn't agree to Thornton's demands to fight. They would obviously rather have Kesler on the ice than sitting in the penalty box for five minutes.

"You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out," Alexandre Burrows said. "Obviously he's been so good for us and they wanted to get under his skin, but I really liked how he showed his composure. It would have been really easy for him to drop his gloves to make a point, but he's thinking about the team first and what really is important for this team to be successful. That's to win games, and having him on the ice."

Burrows said he took Thornton's antics prior to the opening faceoff as a sign that the stakes were higher now.

"That was mostly it, welcome to the Conference Finals," he said.

He said Kesler showed his growth by not fighting.

"I don't think he's smarter, but obviously he's more mature," Burrows said with a smile. "That's the kind of player we need him to be. We need him on the ice. We need him to be under people's skin by playing them hard and strong defensively. I'm sure that frustrates them more."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres