Big guys aren't purely relied on to be physical and come to the defense of their teammates, but it's certainly one of their stronger attributes, and Jamie Oleksiak exemplified that trait well for the Pittsburgh Penguins as his teammate Ryan Reaves was bulldozed by New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith on Sunday night.
Now - he was credited with a 2 minute instigator, 5 minute fighting major, and automatic 10 minute misconduct which forced him out of nearly a full period's worth of hockey.
But he gained the respect of all his teammates by sticking up for Reaves.
The Rangers were winning 2-1 at this point of the game, at just about the exact midpoint of this game, and in case you didn't see, the Penguins finished the game with a win, 5-2.
They scored four unanswered goals after that fight - peppering Henrik Lundqvist with 47 shots.
Add to those 17 penalty minutes two assists, and you could say Oleksiak had an effective night for the Penguins.
“I know we had a lot of people in our hockey ops department that were real excited to get Jamie when we got him, and I think we can see why,” head coach Mike Sullivan said, according to Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s a good, solid defenseman that we think has a lot more upside.”
Tristan Jarry played his second back-to-back of the season, winning both times. While Matt Murray sits out due to undisclosed personal reasons, Jarry is holding the fort well, giving Sullivan some potentially tough choices to make down the road.
Carl Hagelin is clicking with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist. He has 4 points in his last 3, and as a line, they have 14 points in 4 games together.
Maybe this is the answer to getting Hagelin out of his slump. Having him produce could be valuable to the team, or give Jim Rutherford the ability to finally trade him if he thinks that's the better route to take.
The Penguins travel to California, where they'll take on the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, followed by the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.