By Adam Brady
There was a humorous moment this morning near the visitor’s locker room at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, as the Ducks prepared for tonight’s Game 4 vs. the Jets. Ryan Kesler passed Corey Perry in the hallway, nodded his head and simply said, “Katy.”
To understand the reference, you’d have to go back to the third period of Monday night’s Game 3 in that same building. A packed house of passionate and vociferous Jets fans chanted “Katy Perry!”
at the disdained Ducks winger, making a somewhat laughable comparison to the pop star of the same surname.
It’s fitting that it should be Kesler who repeated the taunt to Perry, since the two have formed a dynamic duo of despised figures in this series with Winnipeg and heard the repeated fan jeers on Monday night.
|“You hear what’s going on, and it puts a smile on your face,” says Perry. “It gets you involved because you know they’re involved.” |
“You hear what’s going on, and it puts a smile on your face,” Perry says. “It gets you involved because you know they’re involved. It was loud in here. It was a great building.”
Perry and Kesler are certainly used to the derision, each carving a reputation as villians in their decade-long NHL careers. In fact, Perry and Kesler despised each other
so much when Kesler was in Vancouver that the two frequently threw fists
in Ducks-Canucks battles over the years.
Kesler addressed the irony of two bitter enemies becoming teammates in a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune
last month: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t strange how it’s all worked out. We were sitting on the team bus on the way to practice the other day, laughing about it. I told them I’d pay so much money to be on that same bus a year ago, to hear all the crazy stuff they were probably saying about me. We had a good chuckle about the nicknames we used to have for one another — most of which can’t be printed here.
I’ll never forget the day Perry asked me if I wanted to carpool to the rink with him. Never in a million years would I have guessed that we’d be carpool buddies. I’m sure he’d say the same about me.
Now the two find themselves partners in hatred, frequently hearing the boos (and chants) from opposing fans, something that has escalated in this series.
“It brings my game to the next level,” Kesler says. “It gets me going even if I didn’t feel like I had it that much early on. That definitely got me going.”
|“It brings my game to the next level,” Kesler says. “It gets me going even if I didn’t feel like I had it that much early on. That definitely got me going.” |
He put that on display late in the third period of Game 3, scoring the tying goal with just 2:14 left
, then turning to the crowd with arms outstretched.
“When you can take the energy out of a building like that,” Kesler said, “it feels good.”
But that energy promises to be amped right back up again tonight, when the “Kesler sucks” and “Perry sucks” chants and signs will no doubt be back in full force for Game 4. And if the Ducks happen to advance in this series, you can bet the disgust will be aimed again at both players by opposing fans of whomever the Ducks face – especially in the Great White North.
“It seems everywhere in Canada we go, they are saying something bad about him,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said about Perry, who just so happened to win two Olympic gold medals for Team Canada. “I’m going to have to ask him what he did to this poor country.
“Some guys like it. Corey Perry feeds off it when guys start getting on him. He loves that. I guess Ryan likes that, too.”Ducks staffers A.J. Manderichio and Kyle Shohara contributed to this report.