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. Exhibits A through E: