Ryan Johansen Might Have A Better Idea Of How People Root For Ryan Kelser If Ryan Kesler Were On His Team
So let me get this straight, Ryan Johansen doesn't understand how people could cheer for a guy whose oft-controversial play reduced his opposition's first line center to a whiny, holier than thou diatribe following a Western Conference Finals game? He doesn't get why people would appreciate someone that makes himself the primary concern of the best players on the other team without so much as having an impact on the scoresheet? He can't see why some might see the benefit in having a mental edge that forces opponents to worry about him on the ice and answer questions about him off the ice?
I don't want to make it sound like I am some Ryan Kesler super fan, because he is undeniably a dickhead. Still, his ability to get a professional athlete to stand in a front of a microphone and all-but-say that Ryan Kesler's family would disown him if they had any self respect is the main reason that Ryan Kesler has apologists. All those cup checks and wayward elbows that are tough to support get excused once the victim of them indirectly admits that they are having the desired effect, and that's what Ryan Johansen did by implying that he sits around pondering the moral compass of the company that the culprit keeps. A chance at a Stanley Cup is on the line, and - if that sanctimonious answer was any indication - then Ryan Johansen is being distracted by a player who loves nothing more than hearing that his efforts to agitate were successful.
People don't root for Ryan Kesler because they love the way he plays the game. They root for Ryan Kesler because the way he plays the game can be effective when guys like Ryan Johansen let it be effective. Unfortunately for the Predators' leading scorer, bitching about someone's dirty play - no matter how legitimate the gripe - only shows vulnerability and encourages that player to keep making himself cozy in your head and under your skin. I'm not praising the tactics of someone who is no stranger to cheap shots, but it's tough to argue that they aren't paying richly in dividends.