As expected, Anaheim Ducks defenseman, James Wisniewski, was handed an eight-game suspension for his hit on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook.
The hit came early in the second period of Wednesday night’s game between the two teams in response to Seabrook’s hit on Corey Perry. Wisniewski, who claimed after the game that he was just finishing his check, came all the way from the blue line to careen Seabrook into the end boards. Seabrook then crumpled to the ice, looking as if he had at least momentarily lost consciousness.
Wisniewski had a hearing with Colin Campbell on Thursday morning. The conference call included Wisniewski, Campbell, Ducks GM Bob Murray and the player’s agent.
It did not take long to get the phone call back with the verdict.
The suspension was over five games, meaning that Wisniewski could have asked for a face-to-face meeting with Campbell.
Wisniewski is a repeat offender and was suspended for two games last November for a forearm to the head of Shane Doan during an October 31 game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
While clearly remorseful of his actions after the game, especially as Seabrook is a good friend and former teammate, Wisniewski was nonetheless of the opinion that he had done nothing wrong. Unless you were wearing a Ducks uniform or employed by the team, no one else seemed to agree.
Wisniewski continued to defend his actions after Thursday’s practice.
“The only thing I worry about is there was no intention of having what happened happen,” he said. “I didn’t go in there with the intention to hurt. I just thought it was basically a hockey play. I thought the puck was there. This is a fast game. I didn’t use my elbows. I didn’t try to hit him in the head. I didn’t hit him in the head. I really think my face collided with his and that was the result of what happened.”
Wisniewski only earned a minor penalty for charging on the play, but the ferocity of the hit could easily have merited a major penalty and a game misconduct. Instead, after repairing his cut nose and cheek, sliced open by his visor when he made impact with Seabrook, Wisniewski returned and finished out the game.
Seabrook was not so fortunate. He went to the locker room and did not return due to the vague and nebulous “upper body injury.” It is unknown how long Seabrook will be out of the line up.
Wisniewski will now have more than half of the remaining season to sit and contemplate his actions further. Maybe by then he can come to terms with his foolish actions that resulted in yet another players’ senseless injury.
Yes, he stood up for his teammate, which was a good thing. But the response was above and beyond what was called for and the results were definitely not what was intended for all involved.