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Brief history of Ryan Kesler-Ryan Johansen feud

Anaheim Ducks v Nashville Predators - Game Three

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 16: Ryan Johansen #92 of the Nashville Predators speaks with Ryan Kesler #17 of the Anaheim Ducks in Game Three of the Western Conference Final during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bridgestone Arena on May 16, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Predators defeated the Ducks 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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We don’t know if Ryan Kesler will play this coming season, but we do know one thing about the Anaheim Ducks forward: He does not get along with Ryan Johansen of the Nashville Predators.

The two continued their feud via Twitter on Sunday with a curious interaction.

Kesler, who hadn’t sent anything but a retweet since February, took a break from his summer to shoot a question Johansen’s way:

It’s not quite a “Meet me in Temecula” moment, but what kind of street fight are talking about here? A Kimbo Slice kind or a E. Honda vs. Blanka one?

Johansen replied, though not directly, a few hours later:

Just when you thought the rest of August was going to be boring in the hockey world...

Please recall that during the 2017 Western Conference Final the relationship between the two took a nasty turn as the series featured them going at one another physically and verbally.

When asked if Kesler went over the line, Johansen said, “I mean he just blows my mind. I mean watching – I don’t know what’s going through his head out there but like his family and his friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that. It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game, so I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey and it sucks when you gotta pull a stick out of your groin every shift.”

Kesler heard those comments and pointed out he wasn’t seeking friendship. “He’s not my friend. He’s not going to be my friend. He can say whatever he wants,” he said.

Mic’d up during that series, Johansen was caught telling Kesler, “You’re a f——— loser, nobody likes you.” So you can see why they won’t be sharing pops at the cottage anytime soon.

(Fun fact: Both share Kurt Overhardt as an agent.)

Johansen would be injured in Game 4 of that 2017 series and miss the rest of the postseason as the Predators beat the Ducks to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. “I’m just happy we were able to beat them. I wish I could have been in the line to shake their hands,” he said days after the series concluded.

That wasn’t the end of the rough stuff between the two, of course. Kesler, a noted pest, isn’t one to let things go, especially when you consider part of his job is taking opponents off of their game. So when the Ducks visited the Predators in March, they dropped the mitts for what was ruled a “fight":

The Ducks host the Predators on Nov. 12 and while we wait to see if Kesler will be healthy enough to play, we’ll have to see if they keep their feud to the social media world.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.