Jamie Oleksiak couldn’t rid himself of his helmet as he, uh, won his second-period fight Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena. The Canadiens’ Michael McCarron had his left hand locked around Oleksiak’s collar, chin strap included, and was jabbing at the jaw of the Penguins’ towering defenseman.
Neither the endlessly floating helmet nor the jabbing annoyance of McCarron could keep Oleksiak from exercising his size, though. The two exchanged blows, pushed and pulled at jerseys, and “danced,” as they say in the broadcast booth, until Oleksiak toppled his opponent and went to the ice above him.
Sure, it’s a win if you consider that Oleksiak was the last body to the ice. Regardless of the outcome, though, it looked like a win with the teammates. When Oleksiak found his way back to the bench following his five for fighting, he was greeted to a chorus of composite Bauers, Sher-woods and Missions tap-tap-tapping the boards.
The scene was awfully reminiscent of the pair of ovations Ryan Reaves commanded in his debut against the Predators back in October.
Reaves, of course, is no longer with the Penguins. That makes the quest to three-peat Oleksiak’s to police when needed. Oleksiak might not have the unbeatable “champion” stature Reaves did in the
ring rink, but he might as well be the No. 1 contender. Whether it’s the 6’9″ Zdeno Chara or 6’6″ McCarron, I just hope the policing happens in proximity to my photo hole as it did tonight.
Oleksiak paid tribute to the enforcers of old by casually dropping his more modern gloves, gliding a large circle around McCarron and raising his fists into a boxing stance before getting to business. My favorite photo of the night sits up top (also on our Instagram account … give it a follow for much more in-game and between-game action), a GIF of the fight above these words, and the rest of the game’s action comes next. See you in the comments: