With 801 games behind him, Ducks’ Kevin Bieksa wants to keep going
DETROIT — Kevin Bieksa played in his 800th career game Sunday and that’s a number he takes pride in.
But there is a caveat to that. Those are games that are counted for the regular season only, which is what the NHL determines as official. And in his mind, Bieksa feels so many more should be recognized.
“The preseason and playoff games are twice as hard,” Bieksa said Tuesday, ahead of the Ducks’ game against Detroit. “You need to get rewarded for the more playoff games you play. Obviously you’ve been doing something all right.”
Bieksa has played in 85 of those to date. Given the Ducks’ 2-1 loss to Detroit that keeps them outside the playoff picture, there is no certainty that the defenseman will add to that this season. But there is satisfaction in logging as many games as he has while playing a physical brand of hockey for 13 seasons.
As a defender who often plays above his modest size for his position, Bieksa has gone through plenty of pain and sacrifice in order to get to 800.
“I think I’ve played the game a certain way,” said Bieksa, now in his third season with the Ducks after playing his first 10 with Vancouver. “I play it hard and I’ve had some injuries along the way. Most of my long-term injuries have been freak injuries.
“I’ve been cut by a skate twice and missed four months and three months. I’ve shattered my hand blocking a shot. Broken my foot two or three times. Those would probably be my major injuries. But other than that, I’ve been pretty fortunate, if you can look at it that way.
Bieksa wasn’t a high-end prospect coming out of his native Grimsby, Ontario. The player who is called “Juice” by teammates and coaches throughout his career was a fifth-round […]