Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa never doubted teammate Ryan Kesler would come back after limping off the ice and into the locker room during Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Sharks.
And there was no question Kesler, who returned to score the tying goal with 13.2 seconds left in regulation, would be ready to start the Stanley Cup finals, especially after the NHL announced they won’t begin until Wednesday.
“He won’t let anything stop him,’’ said Bieksa, who scored the series-clinching goal on a lucky bounce in double overtime.
Kesler made it clear yesterday he would have been ready for the finals whenever they started.
Vancouver may not know who it will play for the Cup, but coach Alain Vigneault said defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome, both hurt during Game 3 of the conference finals, will be ready when they do.
The break before the finals means the Canucks’ opponent also gets four days off — and another two before playing Game 2 June 4. Vigneault said that negates any schedule disadvantage for needing seven games to advance.
That includes getting back on ice today after two days off, skating again tomorrow before getting Sunday off, and then coming back to practice Monday and Tuesday.
Weight retires Doug Weight retired after 19 seasons and accepted a job with the Islanders as an assistant coach and senior adviser to general manager Garth Snow.
In 1,238 games with six teams, Weight had 278 goals and 1,033 points. He won a World Cup of Hockey championship for the United States, and was a three-time Olympian — winning a silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
Weight, a four-time All-Star who ranks sixth in career points among American-born players, also will work with the NHL Network during the Stanley Cup finals.