Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/14/11 at 11:49 AM ET
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
After all, when Ballard and Hamhuis were acquired, Bieksa looked like the sacrificial salary cap lamb before Sami Salo ruptured an Achilles’ tendon on July 22. Even though his name would surface again in trade debate, Bieksa resolved to remain calm and concentrate on his game. His teammates certainly noticed. Bieksa paired with Andrew Alberts and Aaron Rome on Saturday in a 4-2 win over Calgary and has become the glue on a back end that’s trying to keep from coming unglued. Although not on pace to match his breakout 42-point season in 2006-07, Bieksa has 19 points (6-13) in 55 games and is a better all-round player.
“His high-percentage plays, work ethic and attitude have been team-oriented and he’s been a great model for the younger guys,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. “When he was telling people he wasn’t paying attention to what was going on [trade rumours], I think he really meant it. That’s why he could focus.”...
“He’s dealt with a lot of crap the past couple of years with the trade rumours and he was probably not playing his best hockey,” said Kesler. “But he’s been one of our top D-men.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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