Sports Hockey

Canucks win, Kesler trade talks heat up 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Amidst the suddenly heated Ryan Kesler trade rumours, a game still had to be played Wednesday at Rogers Arena.

And for the first time in a long time, the Vancouver Canucks were on the right end of the result.

Jannik Hansen scored the only goal of the game — on a breakaway with 8:47 left in regulation — and goalie Eddie Lack made 20 saves to snap the Canucks’ seven-game losing skid in a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Did anyone else hear the collective sigh of relief throughout Vancouver?

After having had a two-week Olympic break to digest their losing debacle, combined with the threat of potentially going winless in all of February, the Canucks managed to finally pick up their first points since Jan. 26.

But even though the win was sweet, what had many in town, and even across the league, talking was a series of tweets sent out by TVA sports reporter Louis Jean — who last year broke the news of coach Alain Vigneault’s firing from the Canucks.

Jean said that Kesler had requested a trade out of town — one made at the start of the season — adding to already existing rumours that the team is fielding offers for the former Selke winner.

Kesler did not play Wednesday as the two-way centre is day-to-day with a hand injury suffered in Sochi after he blocked a shot against Russia. The NHL trade deadline is next Wednesday, making these speculations all the more interesting.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said that the Canucks are “aggressively listening” to offers for both Kesler and defenceman Alex Edler, and are looking for a 20- to 25-year-old centre as part of the return package.

However, Kesler’s agent told News 1130 that the reports of him demanding a trade were “false” while Canucks general manager Mike Gillis was neither confirming nor denying.

For now, the Canucks can look to building on their win Friday at home against the Minnesota Wild.  

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