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The NHL trade deadline passed, and Ryan Kesler is not a Pittsburgh Penguin.
Oh, they tried: According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the discussed deal involved center Brandon Sutter, a first- and third-round pick, and the Canucks' choice of any prospect defenseman not named Derrick Pouliot; who, of course, is the guy they wanted.
So nothing happened, either because GM Mike Gillis didn’t like the price or because, as the Tribune-Review also reported, it was ownership that was deciding on whether the trade happened or not.
“That’s not true,” Gillis told the Vancouver Sun. “That did not happen and I don’t know where that information is coming from. Our ownership did not nix a deal. On days like this, owners, whether they own a hockey team or own a baseball team or own a football team, they’re going to be involved in major decisions you make. They expect you to have a plan and they expect you to carry through with that plan.”
So what’s the plan for Kesler?
Waiting. And waiting.
And more waiting.
See, the problem with Kesler making a trade demand is pride. He has it. Even when the U.S. Olympic team was hungover and disinterested in the bronze medal game, Kesler was one of the few noticeably good players in the game, despite a hand injury. He practices hard. He’s had an outstanding season for Vancouver even though he’s not feeling it there any more. You know you’re going to get maximum effort from Kesler.
It was the same thing with Roberto Luongo. There was never a moment, even when he had been jerked around for the thousandth time by the team, that one felt Luongo wasn’t giving his all or attempting to win his job back.
This became a two-year ordeal, with Luongo as the good citizen.
“Good thing I listened to Lou,” Kesler told The Province. “He told me whether I wanted out or not, I was going to be here at the end of the day. Funny how things work out.”
So Kesler knows what he’s in for. The ramifications of his trade demand aren’t as extreme as they were in Tampa Bay for Marty St. Louis, who was a captain that couldn’t return to his ship. Kesler could finish the year with the Canucks without incident, and will have played as hard in his last game as he did his first. Awkward as it might be, he could come back next season, because that's what his contract mandates.
“It’s not hard for me to come to the rink, I love what I do. The only way to get out of losing is enjoying what you do and put all your effort into that. We need more of that.”
He’s saying the right things and doing the right things. It’ll probably continue. Which makes you wonder how hasty the Canucks will be in trying to trade him. Because they looked for the perfect deal for Luongo for two years, and didn't find one.
The only reason he’s a Florida Panther now is because the Heritage Classic snub was the final insult.
Does it need to get to that point for Kesler to finally win the Canucks Trade Demand Waiting Game?