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Marleau-Bieksa scrap causes a stir

by Dhiren Mahiban /

VANCOUVER – Patrick Marleau is not known as a fighter. His last tussle came in December of 2007 against Nick Boynton, but on Wednesday night the San Jose forward obliged when prodded by Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

Despite taking a few good shots from Bieksa, Marleau held his own and got a few jabs in, but some of the Sharks tough guys were not impressed after the 7-3 loss at Rogers Arena with Bieksa picking Marleau to fight.

"We've seen that before with Kevin," said Ben Eager. "It's sad that someone's gonna sign him for big money when he's a phony. He goes after our top players. He's been asked many times, by lots of players throughout the League (to fight), and he's declined."

Added Ryan Clowe: "Bieksa obviously thinks he's a tough guy. He fights sometimes and he picked his spot pretty good there."

For his part, Marleau didn't see a problem with fighting Bieksa, citing the fact that he has an older brother, and had to hold his own growing up.

"It was just a heat of the moment kind of thing and that happens in hockey," he said. "We just kind of exchanged shots and then kind of decided to drop the gloves, but I think at that point we were still in it, trying to get our game going. I haven't fought too many times, but I know when to drop my gloves. It was my decision to."

Afterward Bieksa, surprisingly, chose not to get into a war of words with the Sharks.

"I'm not going to say too much about that," said Bieksa who finished the night with a goal and an assist. "Right now, my focus is on winning a series. If they want to worry about that kind of stuff, that's fine, that's to our advantage.  Our power play did a great job tonight of making them pay for some of their penalties.

"Our focus is on winning a series. That's the important thing."

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