5 Anaheim Ducks Who Could Be Public Enemy No. 1 In Winnipeg

Ah, the playoffs. Such a lovely time of year. Everyone is in a happy mood, making their predictions, getting their pools ready. It’s all fun and games…until the puck drops. Then, IT’S WAR!!!! Cursing, screaming and other sorts of nefarious behaviour ensues. And that’s off the ice!

The playoffs are where rivalries are born. The playoffs are when the hate rises. Don’t believe me? The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins practically feed their hatred of each other because of their many epic and intense playoff battles. 

It won’t take long for Jets fans to loathe certain players of the Anaheim Ducks. Here’s five candidates on whom the province of Manitoba will love to hate the most.

Ryan Kesler

This should come as no surprise. Kesler is known to flop and dive more often than Cristiano Ronaldo, which infuriates opposing fans and players. Kesler uses this method of drawing penalties and to get the opposition of their game. During his tenure with the Vancouver Canucks, the Livonia, Michigan native was

singled out by the NHL for being a chief offender. 

What makes Kesler’s villainy even more pronounced is that he was a former employee of True North Sports & Entertainment. Yes the same Ryan Kesler did ply his trade for the Manitoba Moose from 2003 to 2005 when the Moose were affiliated with the Canucks.

It’s highly likely that Kesler will be matched up against Mark Scheifele who will be in his first playoff series. There is no doubt that the cagey Kesler will do just about everything in his arsenal, to get under the skin of the fresh-faced Scheifele. Trust me, this will irk Jet fans to the point of rage.

Let’s not forget that Kesler has some history against certain Jets. When Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd were with the Chicago Blackhawks, they had a heated rivalry with the Canucks and Kesler was right in the thick of it. Let the fun begin.

Corey Perry

There is no denying that Corey Perry is very good at hockey. 33 goals in 67 games this season to go with a 41-goal campaign last year are proof of that. There is also no denying that Corey Perry can be a major pain in the butt. 

He’s not afraid to get in the face of opponents or place a stick right in a tender spot of some unfortunate foe. Heck, he’ll even liberally “borrow” some equipment from the opposition if he has to.

Whatever tricks Perry has up his sleeve, he will use him to drive the Jets crazy and make fans seethe with fury. But Perry soaks it all in. Matter of fact, that’s what makes him such an effective hockey player. 

Perry can also break fans hearts by scoring a big goal when needed. His 50-goal campaign in 2010-11 was rewarded with the Hart Trophy as league MVP. He won’t be loved in Winnipeg, when this series begins.

Ryan Getzlaf

I have a confession. If there is one player on the Ducks I want on my team, it is Getzlaf. Standing 6-4 and weighing 220 pounds, Getzlaf is an ideal first-line centre. Big, creative, skilled and mean, Getzlaf embodies all the traits every team would love on their top line. 

But it’s Getzlaf’s nasty side that will draw the ire of Jets fans. The former Calgary Hitmen junior isn’t afraid to mix it up and deliver a devastating bodycheck. While not overly dirty, Getzlaf is a physical player who does possess a mean streak when provoked. 

It is expected that Getzlaf will match up against Dustin Byfuglien in a battle of two superstars. As Big Buff is arguably the most popular Jet amongst Jets faithful, this will make Getzlaf a villain very quickly.

Francois Beauchemin

A veteran of many playoff wars, Beauchemin is a hard-hitting defenceman that will be asked to shut down the Jets offensive stars. While not the most mobile defender, Beauchemin is a cagey veteran who knows all the tricks.

Perhaps his most seminal moment came in the 2006 playoffs when Beauchemin dropped the gloves with Jarome Iginla. That scrap turned out to be a turning point in the series. Beauchemin bettered Iginla and it spurred the Ducks on to eliminate Calgary in 7 games. 

Beauchemin won’t be involved that much offensively, but his defensive game and his physicality will be front and centre. On top of that, Beauchemin led the Ducks in ice-time, averaging over 17 minutes per game. Expect to see plenty of Beauchemin in this series which will make the hate rise.

Matt Belesky

Probably the least known player on this list, Belesky did enjoy a fine season in Anaheim, scoring 22 goals including a team-high 8 game winning goals. 

The Windsor, Ontario native is known for crashing the crease area and getting into the goalie’s face. He will be a constant thorn to Ondrej Pavelec throughout the series as Belesky will stick his nose in Pavelec’s kitchen. 

Belesky isn’t the top scoring threat nor is he the biggest physical threat for Anaheim, but it’s players like him that fly under the radar and can bite you at the most opportune time.