Kevin Bieksa rips Nick Cousins on Hockey Night in Canada
(Screenshots/ Sportsnet)

Former NHL defenseman Kevin Bieksa pulled no punches Saturday night on the Hockey Night in Canada panel, harshly criticizing Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins for his controversial playing style.

“This is a trend with this player. He has done this numerous times – ramming a guy’s head into the boards,” Bieksa said, referencing several questionable hits by Cousins this season.

Check out Bieksa going OFF on Nick Cousins here:


Most recently, Cousins received no supplemental discipline for a hit from behind on Arizona’s Juuso Valimaki Tuesday night. Minutes later, Coyotes forward Jason Zucker retaliated by boarding Cousins, resulting in a three-game suspension for Zucker.

Bieksa called out Cousins’ habit of hitting opponents in vulnerable positions along the boards. He also took issue with Cousins not answering the bell to fight after such hits.

“There’s no place in the game for this,” Bieksa said. “I’m told he’s a good guy, he’s liked by his teammates, and he’s a pretty good hockey player. But somebody has to sit him down and say ‘enough.'”

Bieksa urged either the Panthers or the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to discipline Cousins before his actions lead to a serious injury. He labeled Cousins a “rat” and said hits like Tuesday’s have become a disturbing “trend” for the veteran forward.

The fiery rant sparked reactions across hockey media, with most fans and analysts agreeing with Bieksa’s blunt criticism. Cousins does have a reputation for controversial physicality, including several borderline hits this season alone.

One tweet summarized the consensus opinion: “Cousins is a joke.”

With player safety a heightened concern in today’s NHL, analysts like Bieksa are calling for tougher discipline for repeat offenders like Cousins. The Panthers forward is currently in concussion protocol after Zucker’s retaliation.

It remains to be seen if he will face any supplemental discipline once he returns.