In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Kesler personally called out Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen on Twitter. Unprovoked with no prior online exchange, Kesler tweeted out:
@RyanJohansen19 How’s summer training going? Want to meet me in the streets before we get going on the ice?
Say what!? Did… did Kesler just challenge Johansen to a street fight? Yes… yes he did.
In case you need a refresher, the two Ryans have a fairly extensive fight history that began during the 2016-17 Stanley Cup Playoffs during the Western Conference Final matchup between the Ducks and Predators. Two two had some notorious trash talk moments on the ice and it culminated in a fight in which Johansen did NOT end up looking so good.
Check it out:
Afterward, a clearly frustrated Johansen wondered aloud how anyone, even Kesler’s family, could cheer for a player like Kesler.
For what it’s worth, Johansen and the Preds didn’t seem all that concerned with Kesler and the Ducks last season, nearly sweeping the season series. Kesler finished the 2017-18 season with just eight goals and 14 points in 44 games, meanwhile Johansen potted 15 goals and 54 points in 79 games. Suffice it to say, Johansen is probably better served by letting his play do the talking and leaving the off ice shenanigans to a player like Kesler.
Interestingly enough, this tweet from Kesler may indicate that he’ll be back ready for the start of the 2018-19 season. Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reported earlier this offseason that the 33 year old Kesler was in jeopardy of missing the entire season due to an ongoing hip issue.
We probably won’t know the truth until training camp, but there is a chance Ryan Kesler does not play in 2018–19. Anaheim’s centre gutted through 48 regular-season and playoff games, his discomfort and pain obvious to teammates and opponents alike. From what I understand, he will not be having surgery (that’s been done). Instead, he’s undergoing some aggressive rehab and treatment in an effort to improve the hip area. The team and agent are not commenting, but word is he is not interested in retiring, wants to play and is doing everything he can to get there. But it might be a situation where he sits out and tries to come back in September 2019.
If Kesler deems himself healthy enough to have a street fight with the 6 foot, 3 inch, 220 pound Johansen, we have to presume that he’s healthy enough for training camp in September. In the meantime, however, we’ll await Johansen’s reply…