Who is this guy?
Name: Kevin Bieksa
Born: June 16, 1981 in Grimsby, Ontario
Position: Defence (Right-handed shot)
Size: 6'1", 198 pounds of pure man.
History: Bieksa was drafted 151st in the 5th round by the Canucks in the 2001 Entry Draft.
What did he do?
Bieksa played in 76 games this season, scoring 4 goals and 24 points. He accumulated 104 penalty minutes, his highest since the 2006-07 season, the 2nd-highest PIM count of his NHL career. He was a disappointing -8, his lowest plus/minus since the 2007-08 season.
Bieksa was 3rd on the team in time on ice per game (behind Dan Hamhuis and Alex Edler) averaging 22:46. He averaged 18:37 even-strength time on ice per game (2nd on team), 2:12 per game shorthanded (4th), and 1:57 average power play time on ice (8th)
Juice did not score his first goal of the season until November 14 against the Sharks:
His second goal of the season came on January 5 against Anaheim:
His 3rd and 4th goals of the season happened against Phoenix on January 26:
and more importantly:
Now, about those 104 penalty minutes (3rd most on the team behind Zack Kassian and Tom Sestito, by the way). Bieksa's 27 minor penalties were the most on the team. His 6 major penalties were 2nd to Sestito. Let's take a look at some that major action:
Juice vs the bigger Brian Boyle:
I believe the word is "ornery". A pissed off Bieksa is an excellent Bieksa.
When Flames' head coach Bob Hartley iced goons as his starting lineup, Bieksa and Co responded, including Juice taking a faceoff!
Jokingly, Bieksa tweeted postgame:
Thanks to all for the congrats/warm messages for my 1st NHL face off win! Took a lot of hard work but it was well worth it. #straightback— Kevin Bieksa (@kbieksa3) January 19, 2014
What did we like?
All of the above plus:
-His 24 points ranked him 2nd on the team for defencemen behind Jason Garrison's 33 points.
-8 of those points came on the lousy power play, ranking him behind Edler and Garrison for blueline PP points.
-His 167 shots ranked him 3rd behind Garrison and Edler as well.
-Bieksa led the team with hits (144). True story.
-He was 3rd on the team behind Edler and Chris Tanev with 130 blocked shots.
-He had the 3rd-most takeaways on the team.
Cool. So what did we hate?
Bieksa's 4 goals in 76 games were his lowest goals per game average since his rookie season in 2005, but really, not by much. Bieksa has only hit double digits in goals twice in his 9 year NHL career. Sometimes, the way he plays, this is a bit of a surprising reality.
-Unfortunately, the 24 point season is hardly impressive. That is good for 71st in the NHL. Those are Jake Muzzin numbers for f*cks sakes. Bieksa has three-40-plus point seasons under his belt, and they are sporadic as you can see in the IHDB stats above. So what is he? An offensive defenceman or defensive defenceman? With guys like Jason Garrison and Alex Edler on the team as definite offensive defencemen, wouldn't that make Juice the latter? You need to have a balance of both in your D corps, but Bieksa generally plays the role of both.
-His -8 was the 2nd worst on the team for defencemen.
-He had the 2nd-most giveaways on the team.
Why was the golden duo of Dan Hamhuis and Bieksa split up? Because of the makeup of the D. Really though, those 2 guys should be a fixture as a duo. We saw it in the 2011 playoffs. It was golden.
Hammer had his back if Kevin wanted to jump up into the rush. I just thought they read each other well.
So what now?
Change the makeup of the defence on this team or, assign specific roles more clearly. Is Bieksa paired with Edler? Well then Bieksa is the defensive defenceman. Same applies if he's paired with Garrison. The Canucks' defence is porous even under a defensive-minded coach in John Tortorella. That needs to change. Pick your pairings and stick with them! The D needs more of an identity than it currently has. The musical chairs is
I hate these stats mostly, but they at least paint a bit of a picture. Let me give you a few of Bieksa's advanced stats from Behind The Net and please allow for a bit of ignorance on my part.
-Bieksa faced the 4th most difficult quality of competition amongst Canucks defencemen. Doesn't that make his -8 look worse? Blame the Gods!
-Bieksa was 12th on the team with CORSI relative...which I believe means more shots were directed at his own net while he was on the ice. Help me out here. I hate homework.
-Bieksa's PDO is middle of the pack, but in the lower half, barely. I guess that means the the mathematical gurus see a slight increase in Bieksa's point total next season, even tough, let's face it, they have no clue who his D partner will be or how the coach plays him. Let's face it, Bieksa's point production is an enigma and no BS advanced stats (like PDO) are going to predict otherwise, except to get lucky. Like predicting the weather FFS. I had better run for cover now?
You wanna spank the monkey with these advanced stats? Check out ExtraSkater.com.
I have a fascinating idea...
Don Cherry voice: Kevin Bieska for team captain. Think about it. Who would you rather go to war with? Henrik Sedin or Kevin Bieska? Think about it, kids. Grimby Ontario guy you gotta love him! You want this guy with you in the trenches! God love him! And that's all I gotta say about that!