March 18, 2010
One of these weeks we'll go without a controversial hit in the NHL and spend more time talking puck and less time debating whether or not the NHL's Wheel of Justice should be taking a spin.
Stepping up to the plate Wednesday is Anaheim Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski(notes), who was defending the honor of Corey Perry(notes) after seeing him take a hit into the dasher board by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook(notes):
(We joke about the stupid things announcers say around the League, but Ducks color-man and former NHLer Brian Hayward asking aloud if Seabrook was "selling it" is top five in the dumbest things said category. I've seen Ric Flair sell a hit and Seabrook is no Ric Flair. Hayward did apologize for the comment later.)
Wisniewski received five minutes for fighting Duncan Keith(notes) in the aftermath of the hit and two minutes for charging, a call that Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald called "gutless" by referees Paul Devorski and Ian Walsh. Seabrook, as you saw, made it back to the Blackhawks bench but did not return to the game.
The hit caused TSN's Bob McKenzie to tweet that Wisniewski hit the "Grand Slam: Charging, Interference, Boarding and pre-meditated malice."
Wisnewski defended his actions saying, "I didn't do anything wrong", according to a Tweet by Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. Chicago head coach Quenneville didn't agree with Wisniewski's assessment of the play. From Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:
“And he tried to hurt him,” Quenneville continued. “If that’s not intent, that’s as bad a hit as you could ever have in the game.”
When asked what the explanation, by the referees was for only calling a minor penalty, Quenneville thought for a moment before saying, “I’m not getting into it.”
In a time where every hard hit is met with a fight and sometimes (OK, all times) calls for supplemental discipline, you know Colin Campbell will be in a Boston-area hotel Thursday on a conference call with Wisniewski. Campbell will be hearing Wisniewski's side before he prepares to witness the Boston Bruins try to get revenge on Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke(notes) after his hit on Marc Savard(notes) last week. Unlike what we've seen in other cases and with the recent hot topic of discussion, there won't be any "blindside" talk in this situation, just a straight headshot debate.
No stranger to taking Campbell's phone calls, Wisniewski was suspended in November for two games after delivering a forearm shiver to the head of Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan(notes). That means he's in the system and a potential repeat offender if Campbell hands down further discipline.
If you don't want to wait to hear Campbell's decision, we can figure this out right now, it's pretty easy. Campbell was on NHL Live Wednesday afternoon and when discussing the Alex Ovechkin hit on Brian Campbell said the following:
"Look, if there's no injury on the play, we probably, we don't do anything, but that's part of the supplemental discipline process. If you cause a player to be injured, then you have to be responsible for the play that you're involved in, if there's any carelessness or recklessness in it."
So, if the Cooke hit on Savard was a legal play and drew no penalty, then since Wisniewski's hit caused him to draw a charging minor and knocked Seabrook out for the game, we should expect another pair of games or three for the Ducks defenseman before Anaheim plays Friday against the New York Islanders, right? It's the Colin Campbell Logic.