The NHL has suspended Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski eight games for this hit Wednesday night on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook.
The court of public opinion came down on both sides almost as soon as the hit was levied. In the end, the only opinion that mattered was the one issued by Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations:
“Mr. Wisniewski delivered a retaliatory hit to the head of an opponent who never had possession of the puck. The fact that Mr. Wisniewski is a repeat offender also entered into this decision.”
The Ducks will be without Wisniewski, their third defenseman in terms of minutes played, until the final five games of the regular season beginning April 3 against the Kings. Accordingly, he forfeits $268,292.72 in salary, based on the number of games in the season (82), rather than the number of days (193). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Through a team spokesperson, Wisniewski issued this statement in response:
“I am truly sorry that my friend Brent Seabrook was hurt on the play. I certainly wish him the best. I am, however, very disappointed in the length of the suspension. Eight games is incredibly hard to swallow, especially in comparison to other recent hits that have resulted in lesser punishment.”
Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar scored in the final six minutes of the third period to break a 4-4 tie, and send the Ducks to their third loss in three meetings against their Southern California rivals.
The Ducks looked as good as dead at 1:44 of the third period, when Jack Johnson scored the Kings’ fourth straight unanswered goal to make it 4-1. But Troy Bodie, Matt Beleskey and Ryan Carter put pucks past Jonathan Quick over the next eight minutes to tie the game at 4, and put the Ducks in position to gain at least a point. Continue reading →
U.S. Olympic defenseman Mike Komisarek of the Toronto Maple Leafs will have shoulder surgery that will knock him out of the Vancouver Games and the rest of the NHL season. A date for the operation has not yet been set, the Maple Leafs said Wednesday.
“Our team doctors have recommended this after a determined effort to rehab the injury without surgery,” Komisarek said in a statement. “Having this done immediately is the right thing to do for the Leafs. I am truly sorry that I will not be able to represent my country at the Olympics.”
Team USA recently lost New Jersey Devils defenseman Paul Martin to a broken left forearm, leaving two openings on the blue line. The Ducks’ Ryan Whitney and James Wisniewski are already among the names being bandied about as possible replacements. Others include Pittsburgh’s Alex Goligoski and the Kings’ Rob Scuderi.
Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres and Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes are the leading point producers among U.S.-born defensemen, but were not on the initial list of 60 players submitted to the IIHF as Olympic candidates by Brian Burke.
New Jersey Devils defenseman Paul Martin announced today that he is withdrawing his name from consideration for the U.S. Olympic Roster. Martin, who is currently on the Devils’ injured reserve, was named to the team on New Year’s Day. But his recovery from a fractured left forearm isn’t progressing as quickly as hoped, and Team USA will need to name a defenseman to take his place.
Two Ducks blueliners should be on general manager Brian Burke’s short list. Both Ryan Whitney and James Wisniewski received calls just prior to the Olympic roster announcement to let them know they weren’t on the team, a sign of respect not afforded every player who was thought to be on the bubble.
Whitney attended the team’s orientation camp last August, while Wisniewski has had the better season for Anaheim. Both have three goals and 23 points this season, but Wisniewski has accumulated his stats in five fewer games and has a minus-1 rating compared to Whitney’s minus-10. Wisniewski has also proven adept in shootouts lately.
No word yet on who might be chosen as Martin’s replacement.
The Ducks’ goalie of the future certainly looked like an $18 million man Monday.
Two days after signing a four-year contract extension, Jonas Hiller stopped all 33 shots he faced. Goals by Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry provided the offense for the Ducks.
Getzlaf scored off a costly giveaway behind the Panthers’ net by Keith Ballard at 15:17 of the second period to open the scoring.Selanne, playing his first game since returning from injured reserve, put in a power-play goal off a James Wisniewski shot that hit the goal frame with half a second left in the second period. Shortly after Anaheim killed off a pair of minor penalties — including a 44-second long 5-on-3 shift — Perry knocked home a pass from Getzlaf with 2:42 left in the third period to provide the final score.
Jason Blake, skating at left wing on a line with center Saku Koivu and Selanne at right wing, was held scoreless in 14:03 time on ice. Getzlaf’s 13th goal of the season ended a five-game scoreless drought, while Perry’s 19th of the season ended a six-game drought.
The Ducks (26-23-7, 59 points) are now tied for 10th in the Western Conference standings.
You can thank James Wisniewski and some baby powder for this one.
The Ducks defenseman had never been called upon in a shootout before the seventh round rolled around Saturday in St. Louis, and he needed some assistance.
“Right before the shootout, I told Sluggo (equipment manager Doug Shearer) baby powder because baby powder makes the gloves slide,” Wisniewski told reporters after the game.
“He looked at me like, ‘C’mon, let’s get real here.’ The fifth or sixth round comes and I’m like ‘Give me the baby power, you never know.’ He gave me the baby powder, I put it on, Randy said ‘Wiz, you’re up.’ I went in there and pulled one out of my treasure chest and it went in.”
Wisniewski’s forehand flurry beat Steve Mason to end the game and lift the Ducks to a comeback from a 3-0 third period deficit. The Ducks’ six wins when trailing after two periods ties the Minnesota Wild for the most in the NHL.
A goal by Scott Niedermayer, and a pair by Bobby Ryan — including the tying goal with 30 seconds left in regulation — paved the Ducks’ comeback after T.J. Oshie made it 3-0 at 3:35 of the third period.
Jonas Hiller needed only 18 saves for the victory, Anaheim’s eighth in their last 10 games. The Ducks (24-21-7) are three points back of the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot, though the five teams ahead of them in the standings have a game in hand.
With all of Fenway Park watching, Ducks winger Bobby Ryan was named to the U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey team today, after the conclusion of the Winter Classic.
Unless injuries hit the American blue line, Ryan won’t be joined in Vancouver by Boston native Ryan Whitney or Canton, Mich. native James Wisniewski. Both were left off the roster by Team USA general manager Brian Burke.
On a night when Ryan Getzlaf missed his first game of the season — along with injured forwards Teemu Selanne and Joffrey Lupul — Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle had his work cut out for him Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. Divvying up the time on ice was a challenge, but the end result was a 4-2 victory.