Even on a team chock-full of potential douchebags, from Ryan Kesler to Corey Perry and more, it’s hard not to go back to Kevin Bieksa. You already know about his mouthiness—both literally and idiomatically—and his semi-celebrated “Superman Punch” on Radko Gudas earlier in the year, which is par for the course for a league that wants you so desperately to think it’s conscious and aware of the problems that come with concussions without actually having to do anything to eliminate one of the most common causes of concussions. But would you believe that Bieksa is an even bigger douchebag when he’s doing the thing he’s supposedly paid to do?
It’s no huge secret that Bieksa hasn’t been good in about seven years, but since joining Anaheim he’s somehow managed to outdo even his own expected shittiness. First, for this year, he’s scored exactly six points, all assists, and half of them have been secondary assists. Second, he makes just about everyone he plays with worse in terms of possession. Here are the differentials for the guys he’s played most with this year, with and without him.
|TOI WITH||CF% WITH||CF% WITHOUT||DIFFERENTIAL|
What a surprise that a guy whose pedigree relies on having more penalty minutes than shots on goal would be able to make so many other players so much worse. Couple that with his glistening -5.4 CF% Rel, and you’ve got a guy who doesn’t do dick in terms of the things that usually matter on the ice. But hey, he’s got 81 PIM and 104 hits on the year, which is totally useful for a team that’s scratching and clawing to keep itself in the playoff hunt.
Bieksa is the kind of player that keeps the rabble both at bay and braying for blood. All he’s good for anymore is picking fights and throwing dangerous punches at other large oafs, and every moment he’s on the ice is a gigantic waste of everyone’s time. Fortunately, it looks like the sun is beginning to set on his Stonehenge-sized jaw, as his playing time has mercifully begun to decrease in favor of the younger, somehow homelier Marcus Pettersson.
If he gets a chance to suit up against the Hawks—and Christ willing he won’t—you can expect him to grunt, grind, and jaw against guys much smaller and more skillful than he, so Alex DeBrincat will likely need to keep his positional awareness extra sharp to avoid any undue meetings with him. This is his last year of his hilarious two-year $4 million-per deal, so with any luck, this will be the last time his oversized yap has the misfortune of gracing our screens as a hockey player.
Game #66 Preview