James Wisniewski awoke this morning a household name (again) in Chicago.
In case you missed his hit on Brent Seabrook in the second period of the Ducks’ 4-2 win over the Blackhawks last night, here is why the city of Chicago is calling for the former Blackhawk’s head on a platter.
According to a report on ESPN.com, the NHL is looking into the hit.
The court of opinion on this hit is divided, the dividing line predictably overlapping the 50 or so feet between locker rooms at Honda Center. As you’ll see in the video, Seabrook had just planted the face of a star player, Corey Perry, into the boards moments earlier, and Wisniewski’s action earned stripes from teammates after the game.
“It was great for James Wisniewski to come in and stick up for his teammates,” said Todd Marchant. “We had a lot of that tonight. It just goes to show you how tight this group is and how everybody wants to stand up for one another.”
Head coach Randy Carlyle, known for his measured compliments, took his praise a step further, saying “he was probably the first star in our mind, as far as involvement in the game. It was probably the best game he’s played as a Duck.”
Wisniewski defended his hit as a clean one.
“I saw the replay and I was, like, shocked, because i just thought i finished my check. i didn’t throw my arms up. my shoulder wasn’t into his head or anything like that. I was kind of shocked to see the result of that. … He’s one of my really close friends, and that’s something I don’t ever want to see happen.
“I think the result wasn’t because of a shot to the head. I’m 5-11, he’s 6-3. I really think what happened is my face hit his face. That’s why I’ve got a slit right here [pointing to the bridge of his nose]. The visor came down and hit me when we collided heads.”
On the other side of the hallway, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t so supportive.
He told the Chicago Tribune, “There are certain hits in a game that are tolerable if you have the puck. (If) you hit a guy without the puck you can kill a guy. It’s the most dangerous hit in the history of the game. He tried to hurt him. That’s as a bad a hit as you can ever have in the game.”
Quenneville was already dealing with Sunday’s hit by Alex Ovechkin that knocked out defenseman Brian Campbell, forcing the ‘Hawks to recall former Duck Nick Boynton. Boynton did come in handy Wednesday – late in the game, just after Bobby Ryan scored into an empty net, he threw some revenge punches at Wisniewski,his teammate less than a month ago: