James Wisniewski

Is James Wisniewski Columbus’ savior? They’d better hope so

James Wisniewski hasn’t been able to play for his new team in Columbus yet this season. Tonight, he’ll get his chance to finally, officially suit up as a Columbus Blue Jacket after serving an eight-game suspension.

Instead of re-joining the team under happy circumstances, he shows up on the scene with the team being winless and looking hopeless. After all, with how things went in Columbus’ last game, a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss to Ottawa, that’s about as close to rock bottom as a team can get this early in the year.

Wisniewski comes in with Rick Nash and Vaclav Prospal being the only two consistent scorers. On defense, Aaron Johnson is the guy leading the way for Columbus and when you hear things like that (no offense, Aaron) but that’s a really bad sign for a team. Wisniewski may not be a guy with an all-star résumé, but he’s the best they’ve got in Columbus and right now they desperately need him back.

Wisniewski’s feisty play and ability to spark his team’s offense give the Blue Jackets that hope for some life out of this down-in-the-dumps team. The Jackets need that edge added to the lineup, but they have to hope Wisniewski stays off of Brendan Shanahan’s radar the rest of the way. Who knows how harsh the punishment will be if goes afoul of the law again.

For now, the Jackets just want Wiz to be their semi-savior for now.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?