Ryan Johansen on Kesler comments: 'What I said is what I meant'

Injured Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen, center, celebrates with Predators head coach Peter Laviolette after the Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference final in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Monday, May 22, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators won 6-3 to win the series 4-2 and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In four days, the Nashville Predators will play their first Stanley Cup Final game in franchise history. Ryan Johansen will be somewhere in the building watching and continuing to be inspired by his group of teammates.

A leg injury suffered in Game 4 against the Anaheim Ducks was later revealed as acute compartment syndrome, which ended Johansen’s season. He is, however, expected to make a full recovery for the 2017-18 season.

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Talking on TSN 1040 on Wednesday, the Predators forward spoke glowingly how the team has been able to fight through injuries hitting their lineup to make a run at the Cup.

“These guys wouldn’t roll over for anything. They’re not going to stop for anything,” Johansen said. “The character we have in our group, which obviously is one of the biggest reasons why we’re in the Stanley Cup Final now.

“These guys, they just throw everything on the ice every single day. That’s why guys like Colton Sissons can score hat tricks to lead the team past the Anaheim Ducks and move to the Final. As their teammate, it was just so inspiring watching those guys. I was just so proud and happy to see the boys have success.”

Johansen’s injury came after a collision with Josh Manson. He told TSN1040 that after he got off the ice he had trouble standing up and getting his gear off. At first it was believed he suffered a charley horse. After taking a shower, he planned to ice his leg and wrap it, but then his issues standing up and walking continued. When the Predators’ medical team checked him out, the area had swelled considerably and that’s when the decision was made to go to a local hospital.

“It just got me in the right spot, I guess, ” he said. “Kept getting worse from there.”

You could imagine it hasn’t been an easy week for Johansen knowing his season is over but his team will play on for the Stanley Cup. He’d been an integral part of the Predators success this season and recorded 13 points in 14 playoff games before the injury.

“It’s been pretty tough, I won’t lie. It’s been difficult,” he said. “I’m sure it’s going to be a little frustrating not being out there even moving forward now.”

Johansen hasn’t stayed away from team since the news came out. He joined fellow injured Predator Kevin Fiala as the pre-game towel wavers before Game 6 and later joined his teammates on the ice during the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl celebration to take part in the team photo.

“I didn’t really have a choice in my position, the carpet was going there so that was the only place I was going,” he joked. “It was just awesome to go out there and stand beside the boys and enjoy that moment.”

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His battle with Ryan Kesler in the series came to the forefront when Johansen sounded off after Game 2, questioning why anyone would cheer for the Ducks center. On his post-game explosion, he said he wasn’t lying about anything he said.

“I really meant what I said. I would never take back what I said because it’s just frustrating. Whether people think he’s doing a good job at what he does… what I said is what I meant,” Johansen said.

“I’m just happy we were able to beat them. I wish I could have been in the line to shake their hands.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!