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6-7 Jamie Oleksiak on fighting 6-9 Zdeno Chara: ‘Wasn’t fun being on the other side’

March 21, 2018

At 6-foot-7, 255 pounds, Jamie Oleksiak rarely looks up to someone — especially when he’s in a fight.

But that changed Thursday night.

“I know what it’s like on the other side now,” the Penguins defenseman said Friday after he fought Boston’s 6-9 Zdeno Chara on Thursday. “And it’s not a fun experience.”

Oleksiak and Chara dropped the gloves just past the midway point of what ended up an 8-4 Penguins loss at Boston. The two engaged with the Bruins up 6-3.

″(Thursday’s game) was obviously a tough one, and obviously I was trying to get some juices going,” said Oleksiak, who has been in 12 NHL regular-season fights according to hockeyfights.com. “I was just on the ice, and me and him kind of got into it in the corner, and I saw him and it was mutual, ‘All right. Let’s do this.’ So it happened.”

The bout gave Oleksiak a taste of what opponents routinely have to encounter when facing him: a disadvantage in reach.

“I felt like I was punching a mile away,” he said. “I thought I had two (punch opportunities) where I finally got my arm loose, and I thought I was going to connect, but ... .”

Oleksiak did not have the advantage in size, but he did have one edge. At the time the fight began, Chara was finishing a shift that officially lasted a ridiculous 3 minutes, 3 seconds — the final 2:28 of which was continuous play. That was by far the longest shift for any player in the game. Among all 35 other skaters on both teams, just two other shifts were credited for as long as 2 minutes.

“I didn’t even know that, but it kind of worked out in my favor,” Oleksiak said. “I think he was a little gassed.”

Not quite enough, though, for Oleksiak to win the fight. Sixty percent of those who voted in the hockeyfights.com poll by 5 p.m. Friday scored it a win for Chara.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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