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McKenzie: Kesler's dominance can't be overstated

Bob McKenzie
5/10/2011 9:29:17 AM
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Some thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Monday night:

You can't overstate Ryan Kesler's dominance. 

It wasn't an overwhelming performance by the Vancouver Canucks against a Nashville Predators team that had a pop gun-type offence. 

There wasn't anything Kesler didn't do in Game 6 or the entire series. 

He got it started by beating Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, Nashville's best defence pair, to set up Mason Raymond's first goal of the game.  He followed that up by setting up Daniel Sedin for an easy power play goal.

He was involved in 11 of 14 goals Vancouver scored in the series and that's absolutely remarkable. 

There wasn't any facet of the game that he didn't dominate, whether it was face-offs, penalty killing, power play, shot-blocking or using his speed. 

At the midpoint of the playoffs, and I don't need to see the rest of the Red Wings vs. Sharks series, Kesler is your Conn Smythe Trophy leader.

Thornton's leadership will be tested

The remainder of the Detroit Red Wings vs. San Jose Sharks series will be a test of Joe Thornton's leadership.  If the Red Wings comeback and win this series, there will be lots of finger pointing. 

It's really funny that every loss becomes a referendum. Who would have thought the Sharks could win three in a row against the Red Wings? Is it that much of a reach to believe Detroit could come back and win two in a row? 

I really liked Thornton's Game 5 play and for that matter, the play of the entire Sharks team. 

Thornton was strong on face-offs, he set up the first goal, played strong on the backcheck, he was winning battles and doing a great job defensively. 

Sharks up against good Wings team

San Jose only gave up six shots in the third period but three of them ended up in the back of the net. Can they play better? Yes they can. Will they have to play better? Yes they will. 

They are up against a really good team in the Detroit Red Wings.

I do not get the sense that the Sharks are fragile and weak or the poster boys of all the franchise's failure in the past.

I thought last year they bounced back and beat Detroit in the second round and when they lost to the Blackhawks in the third round, they got beat by a better team; they didn't choke or fall apart.

Bob McKenzie

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