A major knock against Canucks forward Ryan Kesler this season had been that he leaves it all on the ice at home and hardly puts anything into his game on the road.
Heading into the first leg of Vancouver’s record 14-game road trip, critics were quick to point out that of Kesler’s 47 points, 35 had been picked up at GM Place, meaning only 12 had been accumulated in 22 games abroad.
Whether the rugged American was answering the call or simply heating up prior to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, his effort on the road of late has made believers of many, especially those playing Canucks Fantasy Hockey.
Kesler has seven points in his last eight games, all on the road; he’s up to 54 points this season to sit tied with Daniel Sedin for second in Canucks team scoring.
At $4 million, Kesler is never the cheapest of options, but he’s paid off over the last eight games with an average of 14 fantasy points a game, a slight drop from his average over the season, yet third highest of all Canucks on the road.
Kesler wasn’t overly noticeable over the past few games, just like he may not leap out on Team USA at the Games, but similar to how he’s been lurking in the weeds quietly contributing for the Canucks, he’ll be doing the same for the Americans.
Moral of the story: it was nice knowing you Kes, but get ready to become the enemy.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
Four games in six nights had the Canucks bouncing between states, from Florida to Ohio to Minneapolis.
Looking to build off a come-from-behind win over the Boston Bruins on February 6, Vancouver was bolted out of Tampa Bay 3-1 before it reestablished its winning ways with a 3-0 win over Florida and a 4-3 comeback victory over Columbus.
The winning stopped there as the Canucks were dealt a 6-2 loss to division rival Minnesota Wild in the final pre-Olympic game before the NHL’s two-week break.
Ryan Kesler (22 points vs. Lightning), Roberto Luongo (46 points vs. Panthers), Nolan Baumgartner (34 points vs. Blue Jackets) and Christian Ehrhoff (26 points vs. Wild) were the studs of the week.
WE HAVE A WINNER
Four games, 7,018 fantasy players and four winners, without ties. What are the odds of that?
skatinggingerly is an oddly appropriate team name for the winner in the Tampa Bay game because that’s just what the Canucks were doing in a 3-1 loss. Ryan Kesler was the only player over 10 points for skatinggingerly, but that didn’t matter as they rode 67 points to a nice first place finish.
Another team with another fitting name, YVRcanucklehead, took top spot in the second game of the week, Vancouver vs. Florida, right when YVR, aka Vancouver International Airport, was flooded with tourists.
YVRcanucklehead used Roberto Luongo’s 46 point shutout and game star, Jannik Hansen’s 30 points and game star and Alex Edler’s 26 points for a 184 total and a gold medal.
Picking Nolan Baumgartner, despite his cheap price, is always a little risky; is he going to play? If so, will he get the minutes to be affective? Baumgartner did against Columbus and he pushed dkktich to a two-point fantasy win over steam sausage, 158-156.
Baumgartner had a goal, a plus-1 rating, six shots on goal, a hit, two blocks and a game-star for a team-high 34 points.
Vancouver’s final game of the week was weak for the Canucks, but not FooKage, king of the castle with 116 points.
Christian Ehrhoff, Mikael Samuelsson, Mason Raymond, Alex Edler and Ryan Kesler were all over 10 fantasy points helping FooKage coast to the win.Click here
to check out the leaderboard, it's a jumble of 7,339 fantasy fanatics.TH-TH-TH-TH-TH-...THAT'S ALL, FOLKS
The Canucks won’t play again until a road game in Columbus on March 2, that’s 15 days from now. Don’t get all weepy just yet, the men’s Olympic hockey begins on Tuesday with seven Canucks hitting the ice divided into six countries.
For complete coverage of men’s hockey at the 2010 Games, check out the Canucks Report for daily recaps and in-depth analysis of how the Vancouver players are fairing.