It was a Wednesday in August, and Ryan Kesler(notes) of the Vancouver Canucks was talking hockey in 100-degree weather.
He was in Tarzana, a town in California that earned its name because "Tarzan" author Edgar Rice Burroughs once owned a large ranch within its boundaries, filming some hockey-related content for 2K Sports, which will release NHL 2K10 in September.
It's not the first time Kesler has promoted video game hockey this summer; he previously appeared with Alexander Ovechkin(notes) in an outdoor motion capture session on the Vegas Strip.
Kesler's game for this stuff because he's a gamer himself: Tackling everything from hockey to "Halo."
Then again, he's also considered a gamer in the NHL: Playing a tenacious brand of aggressive hockey for the Canucks that earned him his first Selke Trophy nomination last season and his finest offensive campaign as a pro. He's matured and grown into a vital player for Vancouver in the last two seasons.
Kesler's a low-key guy off the ice, which is seemingly at odds with his reputation as a pest in the NHL. Actually, he said that being known as a pest bugs him: "Yeah, it kind of bothers me," said Kesler, claiming the term carries a negative connotation for him away from the rink. But he said his family understands the difference between who he is on the ice and off.
We spoke with Kesler about video game hockey, playing the role of pest, visiting Vegas, whether he'll be back in Vancouver as a free-agent next summer, the Sedin twins, Mats Sundin(notes) and whether the Michigan native will guarantee a medal for the U.S. in the 2010 Winter Olympics.