The James Wisniewski “gesture.”

During his time in Anaheim, former Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski was certainly among the better personalities on the team – good sense of humor, quotable, sociable, etc. That he decided to have a laugh on the ice at the expense of a notoriously strong personality in Sean Avery is really no surprise.

That he would choose the PG-13 gesture you’re about to see (after the jump), with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in attendance, was in questionable taste. Mildly amusing, harmless, yet still punishable. Some form of supplemental discipline wouldn’t be a surprise considering Wisniewski has been on a conference call with NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell before, and considering that sexual puns have drawn discipline before.

That’s your setup for this video of this morning’s all-New York matchup between Avery’s Rangers and the Islanders, Wisniewski’s current employer:
Continue reading “The James Wisniewski “gesture.”” »

On the Wisniewski trade.

Checking in from the vacation trail to report, as I’m sure you already know, that James Wisniewski has been traded to the New York Islanders for a third-round draft pick in 2011.

At a glance, it’s not obvious how this fits into Bob Murray’s plans to rebuild a young, thin defense. Expect some more moves in the coming days or weeks. Among their current blueline corps, only Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman and Sheldon Brookbank have spent a full season in the NHL.

Fowler inks three-year, entry level deal. Update.

The Ducks have signed first-round draft pick Cam Fowler to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The 18-year-old will make $810,000 in base salary each year, plus a $270,000 signing bonus spread out over the three years. He joins No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall (Edmonton) as the only players to sign with the clubs who drafted them in June.

By signing Fowler so soon, the Ducks appear eager to give the defenseman a shot at making the NHL club in his first professional season. Fowler had an impressive rookie conditioning camp, albeit against NHL rookies, prospects and minor-leaguers. Now he’ll have a chance to see if his skills translate to the Ducks’ main training camp in September.

On paper, there is room for Fowler on the blue line. Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman and Sheldon Brookbank are all signed to one-way contracts. Luca Sbisa and unsigned RFA James Wisniewski are expected to join them in Anaheim, leaving two roster spots open if Randy Carlyle decides to keep seven defensemen. The Ducks would like to add another top-four blueliner via trade, but it’s not certain they’ll be able to do so.

To make the NHL roster out of training camp, Fowler would have to buck history. The list of Anaheim draft picks who went straight to the NHL in their draft year is a short one: Steve Rucchin and Oleg Tverdovsky in 1994-95, Chad Kilger in 1995-96, and (then-26-year-old) Niclas Havelid in 1999-2000.

Add to the fact that Carlyle, a former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, has a notoriously short leash on young defensemen, and the chips are stacked against Fowler.

At least today he is one step closer.

Confirmed: Defenseman Syvret signs with Ducks.

Danny Syvret, a defenseman who captained Corey Perry’s London Knights squad to the 2005 Memorial Cup championship, has signed with the Ducks. First reported the signing Tuesday; the team confirmed the announcement Wednesday. Syvret will make $600,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the minors.

A 5-foot-11, 203-pound blueliner with a knack for offense, Syvret’s pro career has not picked up where his junior career left off. In his final season with the Knights (2004-05), he had 23 goals and 69 points in 62 games. Syvret has been a productive point producer in the American Hockey League since he was drafted in the third round (81st overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in 2005, and his point-per-game totals have increased each season at the AHL level. In 76 games for the Philadelphia Phantoms’, then the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, Syvret had 12 goals and 57 points in 2008-09. In 15 games with AHL Adirondack last year, he had five goals and 13 points.

But Syvret has had trouble sticking at the NHL level, with just two goals and five points in 49 games spread over parts of four seasons. If he joins the Ducks, Syvret would figure to be in competition with Brendan Mikkelson, Brett Festerling, Luca Sbisa — and possibly Cam Fowler — for one of the final NHL roster spots. The Ducks only have three defensemen (Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman, Sheldon Brookbank) signed to one-way NHL contracts, with another (James Wisniewski) scheduled for an arbitration hearing August 3.

Anaheim is still seeking a top-four defenseman with some experience. Syvret is not that defenseman, though the Syracuse Crunch, the Ducks’ new AHL affiliate, would certainly benefit from his addition. Judging by his participation in the recent Special Olympics ceremonies in London, he seems to be a good guy, too.

Wisniewski files for arbitration.

As expected, Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski filed for salary arbitration on Monday, the final day for qualified players to file.

Wisniewski, 26, had three goals and 30 points in 69 games last season while averaging 24:20 time on ice.

It’s unknown what the Ducks have offered, or what Wisniewski is seeking. Ducks general manager Bob Murray has said he expected the case would go to arbitration. Of course, that’s what Murray said last year too, when Wisniewski was seeking a multi-year deal. They nearly

went to arbitration before coming to
terms on a one-year, $2.75 million contract.

At the time, Wisniewski relented because he realized Murray “want(s) to see me play a season of injury-free hockey. Hopefully
after that, I can become a Duck for a long time.”

For the most part, Wisniewski accomplished his goal. He only missed three games due to injury – a separated shoulder in October – but suspensions of two and eight games cost him another 10 games total.

The Ducks’ haven’t gone to arbitration with any player since Ruslan
Salei in 2003.

Ryan, Wisniewski, Mikkelson receive qualifying offers.

Soon-to-be restricted free agents Bobby Ryan, James Wisniewski and Brendan Mikkelson have received qualifying offers from the Ducks, while minor-league forwards Shawn Weller and Bobby Bolt have not. Neither has goaltender Jean-Phillippe Levasseur, with whom the Ducks are negotiating a long-term contract.

The deadline to for teams to extend qualifying offers is 2 p.m. (Pacific) today.

Ryan is almost certain to command an offer sheet July 1 if he has not already re-signed with the Ducks. General manager Bob Murray has attempted to re-sign Ryan with a five-year contract offer in the $20-25 million range, but the sides have yet to reach an agreement despite the fact that talks began early last season. The 23-year-old forward scored a career-high 35 goals in 2009-10, his second full NHL season.

In a season shortened to 69 games by injuries and suspensions, Wisniewski finished with three goals and 30 points. The hard-hitting defenseman nearly went to arbitration with the Ducks last year before signing a 1-year contract worth $2.75 million.

Mikkelson, who turned 23 last week, has split the last two seasons between the NHL and AHL, collecting four assists in 62 games with the Ducks.

If a qualified player receives an offer sheet from another team, the current team then has the right to match the offer sheet or will receive a combination of draft picks in return (see below, courtesy of TSN):

Below $863,156 No Compensation
$863,156-$1,307,812 Third-round pick
$1,307,812-$2,615,625 Second-round pick
$2,615,625-$3,923,437 First- and third-round picks
$3,923,437-$5,231,249 First-, second and third-round picks
$5,231,249-$6,539,062 Two first-rounders, a second-round
pick and a third-round pick.
$6,539,062 or more Four first-round picks

Scott Niedermayer calls it a career. Updates.

An emotional Scott Niedermayer has announced his retirement, bringing an end to a historic 18-year career that brought Anaheim its first Stanley Cup.

Niedermayer, who turns 37 in August, nearly retired after leading the Ducks to their first Stanley Cup in 2007. But then-general manager Brian Burke allowed the defenseman to wait until midway through the next season to rejoin the team. With Niedermayer back, Anaheim turned its season around, going 32-12-4 and easily clinching a playoff berth.

He contemplated retirement again after the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons before returning each time. This time, Niedermayer was “100 percent committed to this decision.”

A lock to make the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, Niedermayer is the only player in hockey history to have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World
Championship, World Cup, Memorial Cup and World Junior titles. His impact on the Ducks is unmistakable: When Niedermayer signed as a free agent in August 2005, the franchise had just three playoff appearances (and four series victories) to show for its first 11 seasons. In his five seasons in Anaheim, Niedermayer led the Ducks to four playoff appearances, seven series wins, as well as their first Cup.

His 10 goals and 38 assists in 2009-10 were both tops among Ducks defenseman, but represented Niedermayer’s lowest goal total in a full season since 1999-2000 and his lowest assists total over a full season since 2002-03.

Niedermayer was named team captain in October 2006, relinquishing the “C” (to Chris Pronger) only during his partial 2007-08 season. The captaincy is likely to fall to one of last season’s alternate captains, Ryan Getzlaf or Saku Koivu. Koivu is due to become a free agent July 1, while Getzlaf is under contract through 2013.

Replacing Niedermayer on the ice is not as straightforward a task.

Considered one of the best skaters in NHL history, Niedermayer is in an elite class of defensemen, none of whom can be found on the open market. However, the Ducks would have the salary-cap and payroll space to trade for a top-tier defensemen with Niedermayer’s $6.8 million salary off the books.

Lubomir Visnovsky proved a capable power-play quarterback after he was acquired from Edmonton late last season. Otherwise, the team’s strongest puck mover last season was James Wisniewski, a restricted free agent. Luca Sbisa is also a strong skater with offensive instincts, but the 20-year-old has yet to play a full NHL season. The Ducks own two picks (12th and 29th) in the first round of the entry draft, which begins Friday.

How the Ducks draft, and who they target in free agency or the trade market, may not be the most significant ramification of Niedermayer’s retirement.

Teemu Selanne turns 40 on July 3, two days after he will become an unrestricted free agent, and may now be persuaded to retire as well. Selanne also contemplated retirement in 2007 and 2008, and only returned to the team in 2007 after Niedermayer returned. Selanne is expected to decide this week on whether or not to play an 18th NHL season.

Ducks 7, Oilers 2.

Ryan Carter scored twice, five other players scored one goal – including the 606th of Teemu Selanne’s career – turning Fan Appreciation Night into a one-sided rout in the Ducks’ final game of the season.

Selanne stayed on the ice when the final horn sounded, then led a lap around the ice as the Ducks saluted the fans. Afterwards, he was asked on the ice about his future plans.

“I was always hoping that I wasn’t playing so well, and the decision (to retire) would be easier,” said Selanne, who scored on a second-period power play goal. “I just feel great still. There’s a lot of time to rest now. We have a great team here. Let’s see what happens.”

Selanne, 39, finished his 17th season with 27 goals in 54 games – a ratio of 0.5 goals per game that ranks eighth in the NHL. His 14 power-play goals tied for third in the league. In 1,186 career
Selanne ranks 17th in all-time goals (606), 56th in all-time assists (654)
35th in all-time points (1,260).

Continue reading “Ducks 7, Oilers 2.” »

Report: Seabrook still mad at Wisniewski.


CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook is hoping to play Tuesday night for the first time since Anaheim Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski knocked him out of a game last Wednesday.

Seabrook missed games in Los Angeles and Phoenix after the hit, which cost Wisniewski an eight-game suspension.

“He has skated three times now … and he’s looked fine,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Monday. “He seems ready to go.”

The Hawks host the Phoenix Coyotes, who have a nine-game win streak, on Tuesday.

“I want to play,” Seabrook said. “It’s going to be up to the coaching staff and the trainers.

“I got better gradually, rode the bike, had some headaches and wanted to skate and get out there and started feeling better. I started feeling less pressure in the head.”

But Seabrook hasn’t been able to shake the disappointment of being injured by a friend. Wisniewski is a former Blackhawk who invited Seabrook to his wedding. Seabrook said Friday he’s not sure if he’s going to attend.

“Any time something like that happens, i think it’s tough to handle, regardless,” Seabrook said. “But coming from a friend, coming from a guy I know pretty good, it’s got to be one of the most difficult things to get over.”

Murray on Wisniewski: ‘He should get suspended.’

Here are Ducks general manager Bob Murray’s thoughts on Wisniewski’s eight-game suspension:


First of all, we love the way Wiz plays and we want
him to
play the game hard. That is how he has to play and he is very effective
that. In this instance, he crossed the line. He went too far and he was
to get suspended. I applaud the league cracking down on these things. He
get suspended. I hope they continue to work on this. What happened at
the last
GM meetings and the direction we’re going is wonderful.


The problem I have is the length of it. It just
seems that
Wiz at this point because of the climate of the league is an easy
target. I
sure as heck hope that if we’re going to crack down, that it is a crack
across the board no matter if you’re a star player or not and that
gets whacked. It can’t just be on certain people at the right time.
makes you cringe more than when you see some of the hits this year. All I
is, if you’re going to get them, let’s get them all.


He crossed the line and has to get whacked. I
support Colin
(Campbell). Colin’s job is a tough job to do. It is not easy. Let’s get
all if we’re going to do it and make it equal across the board, whether
it is a
fourth-line player or first-line player, whether the player plays on the
Coast or the West Coast. Don’t forget, what was the last suspension of
games or more? Chris Pronger when he was in Anaheim. Let’s just make
sure it is


On the impact of losing Wisniewski

He’s a 20-some minute guy. Obviously, it’s an awful
blow to
the hockey team.


The game has evolved and we play it different now.
We have
to get rid of this stuff. I’m all for it. I want this stuff gone. I
cringe. My
boys played the game. It’s an awful. I can’t imagine being a parent
that. We have to clean it up, but let’s be consistent.