Every NHL team knows the misery associated with a lack of defensive depth. Injuries are inevitably going to happen and the #7 / #8 depth defensemen are incredibly important on a team’s depth chart. For the Canucks, who have had their fair share of injury woes on the back-end this season (Edler, Stetcher, Tanev), their go-to call-up has been Alex Biega.
The 29 year old Montreal native has been bounced between Utica and Vancouver for the past 3 seasons, and from the average fan’s perspective, I fear Biega has never really been taken seriously as a bonafide NHL d-man. He doesn’t have a big imposing presence, and he doesn’t hit much or fight. So why has he been the most-trusted and heavily relied upon defensive call-up for the squad?
Because he’s a fucking pit-bull.
In most games, you may not notice Biega much. He rarely plays more than 15 or 16 minutes, gets no power-play love and is not the type to light up the score sheet or make a deadly jaw-dropping breakaway saucer pass on a regular basis. What he does bring to the table is an excellent defensive hockey IQ and a sense of responsibility. Despite being listed as 5’10, Alex Biega rarely loses battles in the corner or net-front position – even to much larger men. He’s great on the penalty kill and possesses perhaps the most valuable intangible in a depth defenseman – unparalleled tenacity.
Biega plays like he’s 10 feet tall. The guy is fearless and has absolutely no quit in his DNA. Don’t believe me? Just ask Patrick Weircoch, the 6’5 200+ pound Burnaby native who was brought in as a go-to depth d-man with a solid chance of cracking the top 6. Yeah, he’s still chillin’ in Utica, because when you want reliability… when you want energy… when you want a call-up who will not cost you games – you call up Alex fucking Biega, the Pitbull.