Ryan Kesler is pretty used to being disliked, so it’s no surprise that Ryan Johansen’s remarks following Game 2 of the Western Conference Final evoked nothing more than a chuckle from the veteran Ducks center.
“I laughed,” Kesler said, per The Tennessean. “Got a lot of text messages from my friends and family saying they’d still cheer me on. He can say whatever he wants, though. I’m not going to change my game.”
Kesler added, “It seemed like he was a bit rattled.”
In case you somehow missed it, Johansen said of Kesler: “I don’t know what’s going through his head out there. 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. I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey and it sucks when you’ve got to pull a stick out of your groin every shift.”
This morning, ahead of Game 3 at Bridgestone Arena, Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle said he didn’t think Johansen’s comments would affect Kesler’s game in the least.
“I don’t think it makes any difference to him personally,” said Carlyle. “I think he looks at it as an opportunity to play up against whoever the player is that we decide to match him up against.”
But expect to hear plenty of boos for Kesler from the Predators faithful. They haven’t liked him in Nashville since 2011.
The Ducks and Predators are tied one game apiece.