Anjul Virk, Ducks Correspondent
It was interesting to see what happened in last night’s game between Chicago and Anaheim because of various events. The Ducks won 4-2 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive; Corey Crawford was in net for the Hawks and after letting in one soft goal, was pretty sharp the rest of the way; Bobby Ryan scored two goals to tie his career-high of 31 goals.
However, it was the events that took place early in the second period that took away from the game in the end. Chicago Blackhawks blueliner Brent Seabrook, who is one of the more solid defensive defenseman in the game, gave a jolting hit to fellow Canadian Olympian Corey Perry right in the back. Perry went into the boards awkwardly, and immediately went down. However, he did get back up.
On the same shift though, Seabrook, who had gone behind the net to get the loose puck about 10-15 seconds after the hit to Perry, was viciously driven into the boards by Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski. Seabrook’s head bounced off the glass, and he crumbled to the ice, totally out of it (check out the YouTube video in fellow correspondent Jim Neveau’s article).
Unlike the Perry hit, which was a part of the game, this hit was totally intentional and just plain dirty. Wisniewski came flying down the ice like a guided missile, with the full intent to nail Seabrook, who didn’t even have the puck. It’s even more despicable, when you think that Wisniewski played with Chicago for parts of four seasons and was just traded to Anaheim last year.
With all of the talk surrounding the game because of head shots over the last few weeks, it will be interesting to see what disciplinary action Colin Campbell takes in this case. It’s surprising that the referees that were calling the game last night didn’t even assess a 5-minute major, especially when Wisniewski – a) hit Seabrook when he didn’t have the puck; b) left his feet when he made impact, and c) it was apparent that it was an intent to injure, because of the way Wisniewski came flying down the ice.
After Alexander Ovechkin received two games for his hit over the weekend on Brian Campbell, it’s quite possible that the Blackhawks might be without two of their top 3 defensemen for an extended period of time. That would be a crushing blow to a club that is considered a heavy Stanley Cup contender this season. It would be shocking if Wisniewski does not get at least 5 games for this hit. In fact, I think he should be suspended for the rest of the season, because of the malicious “intent to injure” factor that plays into this equation.
What’s even more bizarre is that all-star defenseman Duncan Keith obviously had to come to the aid of his teammate, and went after Wisniewski, but still didn’t want to fight his ex-teammate. Yet, Wisniewski started nailing Keith the minute he got a shot. Was this all because he was traded away from a Stanley Cup contender or he just doesn’t like those two? I mean, there are more than enough theories that you can come up with to criticize or defend Wisniewski in this situation, regardless of how realistic or out there they are.
Bottom line is, James Wisniewski should have known better, and for being so ignorant to all of the clouds circling over the league, he should be suspended for the rest of the season for being so stupid.