Former National Hockey League defenseman Kevin Bieksa has quickly become a fan favorite on the Hockey Night in Canada panel, but on Saturday night Bieksa was getting all of the attention from fans for an entirely different reason.
This time around it was a rather unusual picture that was displayed above his head on the shelf or mantle above him, this while Bieksa was seemingly doing a remote broadcast from either his home or his office. The picture, which was fully framed on the shelf, featured former Bieksa teammate Ryan Kesler. Now it would come as no surprise to see a picture of a man that Bieksa spent the majority of his NHL career with in both Vancouver with the Canucks and in Anaheim with the Ducks, but this was not your typical picture.
Instead the picture was one from the ESPN Body issue that Kesler had featured in, a special issue each year in which professional athletes are featured naked in poses that show off their strong athletic bodies.
Of course this has resulted in some good-natured roasting of Bieksa on social media, and honestly you could expect nothing less from long time hockey fans who simply could not resist the chance to laugh at this a little. That being said it wasn't just the fans who got a kick out of poking a little fun at Bieksa, once Kesler himself became aware of of the fact that the photograph had been catching everyone's attention, he took the opportunity to roast his former teammate as well.
"Usually it’s by his bed side," wrote Kesler with a laughing emoji.
When we initially covered this story on Saturday night I speculated that Bieksa may have been the victim of some kind of prank, but with the ongoing pandemic that would not have been an easy task to pull off. I also speculated that this could have been either part of a wager, or the punishment for a wager that was lost, but as of right now that remains only speculation.
The fact that the picture no longer appeared behind Bieksa later on in the broadcast does suggest to me that there may have been some funny business afoot here.