Monday, December 13, 2010

Kevin Bieksa Will Drag His Knuckles Across Your Face

Often lost in the ongoing dispute over Kevin Bieksa's defensive ability is his extraordinary knack for fisticuffs. Juice (so called because he likes pineapple juice, but also conveniently fits with his predisposition to rage) has had a reputation as a fighter to be avoided since he broke into the NHL by one-punching arrogant and highly-disliked prospect Fedor Fedorov in a parking lot. Canucks' management was pleased with this, likely because A) toughness is never unwanted, and B) Fedorov had been asking for it for awhile.

Since then, the long-held opinion has been that Kevin Bieksa--like Bruce Banner--is not your friend when he's angry. He's also an entertaining scrapper, sometimes beginning spats with a GSP-style Superman punch. Early in his career, Bieksa was often compared to Ed Jovanovski, a contrast that wasn't quite accurate, hockey-wise. It was apt, however, during fights: Jovanovski was generally to be avoided because he punched to concuss (just ask Adam Deadmarsh); Bieksa is similarly spirited when he trots out the knuckles. He fights to win. There is rarely any debate over his contributions to Vancouver when he resorts to violence.

Speaking of fighting and winning, he's already done so twice this season, both times decisively walloping his opponents (Kevyn Adams and Aaron Voros, respectively). Canuck fans treated both affairs as a rare treat, but in the big picture, he's actually fought 27 times in six seasons as a Canuck.

And, according to HockeyFights.com, he trends towards indisputable victory. Of those 27 fights, according to his fight card (where winners are determined through voting) he's 24-1-2. Put another way: in six years, he's lost only 2 times, and of those two, neither was overly decisive. His wins are much more so. Of his 24 wins, 15 have garnered at least 70% of the vote, with 8 garnering 90% or more. The verdict? Bieksa will crush you. After the jump, exhibits A through E:

Kevin Bieksa vs. Aaron Voros (December 8, 2010)



Kevin Bieksa vs. Alexandre Picard (October 21, 2008)



Kevin Bieksa vs. Craig Adams (October 22, 2007)



Kevin Bieksa vs. Karl Stewart (February 7, 2007)



Kevin Bieksa vs. JF Jacques (December 4, 2006)



Bieksa averages about five fights a season, so we can be expectant that he'll drop the gloves a few more times before April. That is, unless nobody else wants a concave face.

11 comments:

  1. Is it just me, or does Bieksa look kind of bored in the midst of his fight there with Mr. Penguin. Or at least very ho-hum about it.

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  2. He sleepwalks through fights? That would make a good assault defense in the future.

    Judge: How do you plead?
    Lawyer: Not guilty, your honour. My client was asleep at the time.
    Judge: He won a fight!
    Lawyer: He's that good, your honour.

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  3. Factual correction! Bieksa is known as "Juice" because of a predilection for pineapple juice while he played in Manitoba, not because he appears to be 'roided up. Seriously.

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  4. FFS, I forgot about that. Well, I fixed it.

    But come on, the pineapple juice thing has to be a lie made to cover up a blatant Steroids-based in-joke in the locker room.

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  5. yeah pineapple Juice?? Really, Really?

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  6. Sure, Bieksa's a good fighter, but maybe his record over at hockeyfights.com is only that good because of the people he chooses to fight. None of the players in those examples you give had good records in the season they fought Bieksa (I didn't check the other seasons).

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  7. The interesting thing about his fight with Voros is how tactical he is. Watch the beginning of the fight: as is usual with two guys who know what they're doing, they get a fistful of jersey near the other guy's chin. This allows each fighter to twist away when a punch is coming so that it doesn't land cleanly.

    At the 0:10 mark of the video, Bieksa sets the stage for winning the fight by switching hands, grabbing Voros' jersey with his right hand and throwing a couple wild punches with his left. He doesn't connect with either of them, but completely bamboozles Voros.

    At the 0:12 mark, a mere 2 seconds later, he grabs Voros by the right shoulder with his left hand and resumes dropping bombs with his right fist. Voros tries to twist away like he did previously, but Bieksa's new grip on his shoulder prevents him from doing so, meaning those punches land square on his jaw.

    It's clear that Voros isn't expecting that kind of cleverness from Bieksa; he's clearly expecting a typical grab the jersey and throw haymakers type of fight. That's one of the big reasons Bieksa is a scary fighter. Most of his opponents don't know what they're getting into. Rachael's point about the capability of his opponents fits right in here: people go into fights with Bieksa not realizing that he's badder than old king kong and meaner than a junkyard dog.

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  8. I was just thinking the other day he's probably the best non-enforcer fighting d-man I've seen in quite a while.

    it kinda puts it into perspective when he's probably good enough to tango with most middle wieght enforcers and not lose a step. But that's not his job.

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  9. watching that adams vs bieksa fight video reminded me why i fell in love with bieksa in the first place, he absolutely manhandles adams when adams tries to hit him and then he destroys him in a fight.
    if only he acted like that now, i still love him but he needs to be a lot less of a smirking dinosaur and lot more of a clobbering goblin

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  10. I have a feeling the link between the nickname juice and pineapple juice has something to do with the seemingly well known fact that pineapple makes your "love gravy" taste better... I lived in Winnipeg while he was playing there and I seem to remember him having a number of groupies.

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  11. JS Topher, I don't even know what to say this preposterous hypothesis.

    Anyway, I'm off to the store... to buy... fruit...

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