Canucks and Beyond
by Alanah McGinley on 01/22/07 at 06:17 PM ET
Another key for the hard-charging Canucks has been the fast-forward development of blue liner Kevin Bieksa, drafted 151st in 2001. He played half the 2005-06 season and this year has developed into the squad's top point-getting defenseman (8-20--28 entering last night). "Great kid," said Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who was Canucks GM when they drafted Bieksa. "And a great story.”
Uncertain whether he wanted to sign Bieksa following the defenseman’s senior season at Bowling Green, Burke invited him to the Manitoba Moose (AHL). His first night with the club, Burke recalled, the 6-foot-1-inch Bieksa didn’t play, but that night he joined his new teammates at a local pub.
“He’s in there, having a good time, and he bumps the table of another of our kids, Fedor Fedorov,” said Burke. (Fedorov, brother of the better known Sergei, is now back in Russia, playing for Yaroslavl.) “Well, one thing leads to another, and Fedorov, a pretty good-sized kid [6 foot 3 inches, 230 pounds], asks Bieksa if he wants to take it outside. So, Bieksa’s a willing kid, and says, ‘Sure, let’s go!’ “
Out to the parking lot the two went, and according to Burke, Bieksa KO’d the bigger Fedorov with one punch.
“Down and out!” recalled Burke. “The next day, I’m talking to [assistant GM Steve Tambellini], and I guess Bieksa was all worried about it, saying to Tamby, “Oh, geez, I’m all done, Burkie’s going to be really [steamed], I show up and knock out one of his own guys.’ I listen to Tamby and I say, ‘Are you kidding me? I love that. Sign him—today!’
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Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]