That was perhaps never more apparent than during the Ducks' first-round sweep of the Winnipeg Jets last season. With the capacity crowd at Winnipeg's MTS Centre regularly launching into "Kesler sucks" chants, it was clear that one of the NHL's most notorious prank-loving agitators had officially made his mark with the Ducks.
Since coming to Anaheim from the Vancouver Canucks in a 2014 offseason trade, Kesler's antagonistic tactics have gone into overdrive. Nobody is safe, not even his own teammates.
"I'm fortunate to be able to play the game I love and have fun doing it. That's just me coming to the rink every day and having fun," Kesler said. "It's just having fun and showing the fans a little glimpse of me off-camera but on at the same time."
That's especially the case with Kesler's online talk show.
Inspired by comedian Zach Galifianakis' hugely successful "Between Two Ferns" Web series, Kesler launched "Between Two Zambonis" last season as the ultimate platform for ribbing his teammates.
"I really just ask whoever I think would be good on the show. Kind of just chirp them and see how smart they are," Kesler said. "Most of them aren't. That definitely plays into my hands. We just have fun with it."
The Web series has so far added plenty of off-color moments to Kesler's considerable pranking portfolio. Here's a selection of some of his greatest hits.
'Between Two Zambonis'
The crown jewel of Kesler's extensive chirping empire, the series has provided a unique opportunity to simultaneously antagonize and amuse, while relying primarily on the awkward exchanges that Kesler initiates from the moment the cameras start rolling.
Kesler kicked off the most recent episode by introducing teammates Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm as "two Finns." When the Swedish pair corrected him, Kesler set the tone with a smug, "Same thing."
"It was definitely something new I haven't done before. But it's a fun time," Rakell said. "Me and Hamps got to do it together so he wouldn't chirp us too much."
Kesler's hope is to eventually host an episode opposite All-Star Corey Perry, a teammate he's been consistently teasing from the moment he arrived in Anaheim.
"He's a little stubborn, but I'll get him on," Kesler said. "I'll get something on him that he has to. I'm going to bribe him."
After being traded to the Ducks in 2014, Kesler found a unique way to reach out to fans when he attended a preseason game at Honda Center incognito. Outfitted with a wig, glasses and a sizeable prosthetic gut, Kesler roamed the arena concourse and engaged fans, most of whom had no idea they were talking to the Ducks' newest star.
"I thought more people were going to recognize me," Kesler said "They did a pretty good job [with the disguise] and not too many people did. "
Still taking the time to chirp his new teammates Getzlaf and Perry, he shocked many in attendance with a classic prank. If nothing else, it taught teammates and fans to expect the unexpected when it came to the 2011 Selke Trophy winner.
While in Vancouver, Kesler became notorious for his efforts to sneak up behind teammates during their on-camera interviews. These "video bombs" became something of a trademark for Kesler, and no one was safe inside the Canucks dressing room. Whether it was offering Raffi Torres a slice of pizza, wearing Cory Schneider's goalie mask or hoisting up his son Ryker, any Canucks interview ran the risk of being sabotaged at any time.These videos also introduced the world to one of the most mischievous smiles in hockey.
Golf cart sneak attack
Before finding his stride as an interviewer with "Between Two Zambonis," Kesler was handed on-camera duties during the 2012 Jake Milford Classic, the Canucks' annual charity golf tournament. So naturally the chirps were flying, especially when teammates were lining up important putts. But the highlight of Kesler's day might have come when he hijacked a golf cart and meted out a little back-nine justice. Speeding toward an unsuspecting teammate, Kesler dished out a friendly smack on the backside before taking off, at no point releasing his foot from the accelerator.
Kesler interrupts doctor's exam
One of the most lighthearted moments of Kesler's time in Vancouver was also the most unexpected. It began as a friendly promotion to alert certain Canucks season-ticket holders that they had been selected to drop the ceremonial first puck at an upcoming game. As usual, Kesler's inner prankster emerged at first, but the call took a turn when he was placed on hold. The fan's response upon finally taking the call did what no opponent has been able to do in Kesler's 12-year NHL career: leave him at a loss for words.
You're unsuspectingly watching your items being scanned at the local grocery store when the person bagging them suddenly offers his unsolicited opinion. "That's a lot of beef." This is exactly the kind of thing Kesler can and did get away with when he participated in a Canucks promotion that required him to bag shoppers' items at a nearby store. Like many of his off-ice hijinks, the promotion had the best of intentions in mind as Kesler slipped free game tickets into shoppers' bags and handed out the odd autographed jersey. He even offered to pay one woman's grocery bill.