VANCOUVER – Ryan Kesler has an evil twin.
His name is Kevin Bieksa.
Okay, Bieksa is not evil. But mischievous? Definitely.
Bieksa impersonated his Vancouver teammate after the Canucks’ 3-1 win Wednesday in Los Angeles Kings in the fourth game of their Western Conference quarter-final series. Fox Sports reporter Mike Dunsmore mistook Bieksa, a defenceman from Grimsby, Ont., for Kesler, a centre who was born and raised in Livonia, Mich.
Bieksa, who has since fessed up about the shenanigans, could not stress enough how much he enjoyed playing in front of an American crowd.
“It was awesome,” Bieksa can be heard saying during the interview posted on YouTube. “For me, I’m an American guy and growing up in Michigan, I love playing in the States.
“I’ve got a lot of family and friends here, and I won an Olympic medal for this country. I brought THEM a silver medal. So, you know, they usually give some ovations here.”
Bieksa was referring to the 2010 Winter Olympics when Canada beat Kesler’s U.S. team for the gold medal—a fact he has gladly pointed out on more than one occasion in the Canucks’ locker-room.
Kesler’s alter-ego also praised the centre’s “huge” traffic in front of the Kings’ net and stressed how much he enjoyed being U.S. Olympic teammates with Kings captain Dustin Brown—whom he affectionately dubbed “Brownie” at another point in the interview—and goaltender Jonathan Quick.
“We had some good times, that’s all I can say,” said Bieksa. “We had some really good times in the Olympics.”
When asked how the Canucks can show their faces around the streets of Vancouver if they lose Game 5, Bieksa did not miss a beat.
“Like I said, I’m an American and I like playing in the States,” he said. “So the fans in Canada are great, but this is where the real hockey fans are, in my opinion. I love the States and this will always be home for me.”
The fake Kesler, who can be heard stifling a laugh at one point, said his nickname was “Guzzler” (without elaborating). He also stuck to the arena-atmosphere theme when asked if the Canucks reclaimed the momentum following Wednesday’s win.
“We’ll go back to Canada, but I’m sure our crowd won’t be as good there. But, hopefully, we can get back to here, where the real crowd is.”
Bieksa, who played college hockey for Ohio-based Bowling Green, could not resist taking a shot at Kesler’s alma mater when asked for his thoughts on Ohio State’s squad.
“I love the Buckeyes,” said Bieksa. “The Bowling Green Falcons, I felt, always kind of took it to us. But Ohio State, we’re a good club. We’re definitely (one of the) top three teams in Ohio.”
Bieksa never revealed his true identity to the interviewer, who was none the wiser as the session concluded.
“Kes, you’re a beauty. Thanks very much, man,” said Dunsmore.
“Always a pleasure,” replied Kesler-Bieksa. “God bless America.”