Ryan Kesler isn't Superman. He just played like it last season.

Kesler set the bar so high that even if he hadn't had off-season hip surgery, he'd likely still have trouble living up to it.

Kesler, 27, had an encouraging start when he first got back into the lineup on Oct. 18, after the playoff injury and subsequent July 25 surgery on his hip labrum caused him to miss most of a summer's training, all of the preseason and the first five games of the season.

Since then, it's been a mixed bag and some in Canucks Nation are beginning to express impatience about when the guy with the cape is going to show up. After collecting a goal and an assist in his first three games, Kesler now sits at 2-5-7 in 12 games and has one goal in his last 10.

Kesler hasn't displayed the speed or the snap-shot that helped propel him to 41 goals last season, but he hasn't lost any of the work ethic and defensive conscience that won him the Selke Trophy. He's picked up right where he left off in the face-off circle, winning an excellent 57.1 per cent, and there's no coincidence that since his return – and, to be fair, the resurgence of Manny Malhotra – the Canucks penalty kill has been near the top of the league.