Those occupying the middle ground when it comes to former
Here, he is about as polarizing as a political candidate. Loved or hated and definitely not ignored.
"I guess that's my personality," Kesler said Wednesday at a news conference at the arena. "You love me or you hate me. Like I said, I love this city. I've called it my home since I came here when I was 18 for training camp and now I'm 30.
"That's a long time in my life. That's over one-third of my lifetime. It will always have a place in my heart."
Kesler deftly stickhandled his way through the 13-minute-plus news conference, offering introspection and perspective on his 10-season career with the Canucks as he returned to play in Vancouver for the first time since being traded to Anaheim in June.
He played against the Canucks at
"Obviously, it's going to be an emotional night for me," he said. "If they boo me, it'll probably jack me up even more, if that's what you're asking. It's going to be fun tomorrow. Intense night and I'm looking forward to it."
He was asked about his sometime frosty relationship with the Vancouver media and whether he felt mistreated.
"No," Kesler said. "I think you guys think I'm grumpy all the time. Sometimes, I just don't want to talk to you."
The personal stuff was out of bounds, he felt.
"Other than that, you guys are hard on us," Kesler said. "But it's fair. It goes along with playing in a Canadian city and a Canadian market that thrives for news about hockey and news about the guys.
"Were there moments where I wish I did things differently? Yeah, obviously. I was young kid coming up and didn't know how to deal with stuff."
This has been a trip of homecomings and reunions for the Ducks, who faced former goaltender
Kesler is looking forward to matching wits with his close friend, defenseman
"He'll get his licks in," Kesler said. "I'll get mine in too. I'll chirp him a little bit too."
The Ducks know how big a deal this is for Kesler, just as it was when Anaheim Coach
There is nothing quite like returning as the opposition.
"It was surreal for me," Boudreau said. "I had a hard time focusing , watching the Washington team because you look at them two totally different ways. ... [
"Never," he said quickly.
Which is why he was impressed when the Ducks acquired Kesler and a third-round pick in 2015 from the Canucks in exchange for forward
"I had kind of the same reaction when we acquired
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