Typically, 5th round picks become forgotten players who either provide depth for the minor league club or fizzle out and turn to other professions. Kevin Bieksa refused this notion fighting his way onto the Canucks via a mix of hard work, toughness and skill.
Since his inaugural season with the Canucks in 2005, Bieksa has been a mainstay. But while his role on the team has changed over the years, his value has remained static. Bieksa is a leader both on and off the ice serving as one of the assistant captains and as one of the more colorful personalities in the dressing room. You’ll often find him with a smile on his face in interviews, but when the puck drops he’s all grimace. That’s why us Canuck fans know when he goes down it can’t be good. This guy is tough. Luckily, the puck that hit Bieksa in the face on Monday just gave him a black eye and no real injuries because let’s be honest: Who wants a world without Kevin?
Here are a few Kevin Bieksa moments that illustrate why this dude is such a fan-favorite:
5) In an interview after a playoff game against Los Angeles, Bieksa is mistaken for teammate Ryan Kesler and rolls with it. Hilarious patriotism.
4) Bieksa borrows a move from the UFC and surprises Mike Richards with a flying superman punch.
3) Never one to back down from a fight, number 3 takes on tough guy Ben Eager in a brawl that sparked this modern-day rivalry.
2) In game 2 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals, Bieksa takes a breakaway pass from Chris Higgins to give the Canucks the lead at a crucial moment.
1) Capping off a great series, Bieksa nets the series-winning goal in double overtime with a fluky knuckle-puck from the blue line, and propels the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.