KES MAKES THE COVER
It was announced today by 2K Sports that Ryan Kesler has been chosen as the cover athlete and spokesmen for NHL 2K11.
Kesler worked with 2K Sports last year on an NHL 2K10 commercial shoot and outdoor motion capture session in Las Vegas along with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.
Kesler, a strong force for Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics where he scored two goals, took the time during the Games to talk to John Gaudiosi from Gameon on MSN TV about one of his biggest past times, video games.
Gaudiosi: Are you a big gamer and do you guys have a videogame system in the locker room for the Canucks?
Kesler: “We do have it in the locker room – not many guys play. I’ve got all the systems at home, though. So, I play most of my game time at home after games.”
Gaudiosi: What are your thoughts on how technology has evolved in videogames?
Kesler: “It’s amazing what they can do. It’s almost like playing the actual game. For me to come home from a game, and sit down and play a little 2K10 – it’s like playing the real thing.”
Gaudiosi: What videogames did you play growing up?
Kesler: “Ice Hockey and Blades of Steel on Nintendo and the old Sega Genesis NHL ’94.”
Gaudiosi: Back when you could make Gretzky’s head bleed, right?
Kesler: “Exactly – they only had that one year though. Then the Players Association got involved.”
Gaudiosi: What role do you see videogames play in growing hockey as an international sport?
Kesler: “I think it’s a very important role. They have it down to such a tee, it’s amazing. I don’t think they can get much better at what they do! Pretty soon you’re going to actually be playing hockey when you’re playing videogames. It’s pretty special.”
Click here for the full interview
WELLWOOD UP 4LBS, UP 4 POINTS
Canucks centre Kyle Wellwood has packed on a few of the pounds he lost last summer, but has packed on the points as well. Since the Olympic break, Wellwood (9-10-19) has recorded four points (two goals, two assists).
“At the start of the year, I was a real lean 181,” Wellwood told the Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre. “Now I’m not thick, but I have a little more weight. Right now, I feel great. My body feels good. I’m healthy. I’m happy out there.”
The extra off-ice training Wellwood endured at the beginning of the season was not the most beneficial as he only scored one goal in his first 17 games. He has played better of late since putting on a few pounds.
“Lately, since the Olympic break, I’ve just taken it easy and done light warm-ups and pushups instead of weights and I’ve felt a lot lighter on the ice,” Wellwood told MacIntyre. “I’ve felt better. I like the way I’m skating and handling the puck. The game’s so fast out there, there’s no room for error. So if you have confidence you’re more excited about making plays.”
GAME DAY NOTES
Today the Canucks face an important divisional battle against the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs have been hot on their tail all season fighting for first in the Northwest.
It will be the third time the teams play each other this season. Last year the series between the Canucks and the Avs was a tie at 3-3. This season so far is 3-1 for Vancouver. A memorable Canuck-Avalanche game was on November 14 when the Canucks defeated them 8-2 and Henrik Sedin recorded his first NHL hat trick.
Even though the Avalanche finished last in the Western conference in the previous season, they have stepped it up this time around and only sit two points behind the Canucks (40-23-2) with 80 points (37-22-6).
Due to the close point proximity in the Western conference, the Avs are in sixth place in the West even though they are only two points shy of the Canucks. The Phoenix Coyotes are fourth place with 83 points (39-22-5), and the Los Angeles Kings are fifth with 82 points (39-22-4).
For the Canucks, the key to keeping third place in the West is being first in the Northwest division. Yet with 17 games left, the Conference is open for change. The Canucks hope to keep inching ahead of the Avs in order to maintain their leading position in their division.
If the playoffs began right now, the Canucks would be facing the Avalanche. The last time the Canucks have encountered the Avs in the playoffs was in 2001 where the Canucks were knocked out in the first round after suffering four straight losses. The Avs went on to defeat the Kings, the St. Louis Blues, and the New Jersey Devils and took home the Stanley Cup.
However, the Canucks are a strong contender this year. Forward Ryan Kesler (19-40-59) is currently on a nine game point streak consisting of five goals and five assists.
The Sedin twins have come back after being left off the score sheet for three games earlier in February. Henrik (26-59-85) is second in the league for assists and points, and brother Daniel (16-44-60) is currently on a six game point streak.
Mikael Samuelsson (24-19-43) has scored five goals in the last six games. His scored his 24th goal Sunday against the Nashville Predators setting a new career-high.
The Canucks will have to watch out for Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson (33-18-5), who is first in the league for saves with 1,675, and fifth for wins with 33, and Avalanche forward Chris Stewart (24-27-51) who recorded his first NHL hat trick last Saturday helping his team defeat the Blues 7-3. Stewart was also named NHL’s first star for the first week of March.