The Wednesday Wake-Up Call is where we pick a struggling player and kindly ask him to SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY. COME ON. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!
Lubomir Visnovsky, D, Anaheim Ducks
Key stats: 1G-3A-4PTS in 14 GP, minus-7
Cap hit: $5.6 million annually
Last season, Lubomir Visnovsky led all NHL defensemen in scoring with 68 points. His 31 powerplay points were more than Ryan Kesler, Jarome Iginla and Henrik Zetterberg. He was one of four defensemen named to an NHL All-Star Team (Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber were the others). He finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting and tied for 23rd in Hart Trophy voting (with Chris Pronger.)
So needless to say, Visnovsky was a fairly elite player last year.
But this season? Not so much. His chemistry with blueline partner Toni Lydman has seemingly evaporated and they’ve been replaced as Anaheim’s top pairing by Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin. Visnovsky’s been accused of puckhandling too much, failing to defend the blue line and making plays that aren’t there.
“What we’ve got to do is get Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman playing to a higher level,” head coach Randy Carlyle told Fox Sports West. “And that’s been our goal and going to be our goal going forward.”
Anaheim has yet to achieve that goal. Losers of five straight and eight of their last nine, the Ducks have been waiting for weeks for Visnovsky to break out — but it’s simply not happening. He’s gone seven straight games without registering a point and had unusually low ice times against Nashville (17:11) and Detroit (20:03). This from a guy that averaged 24:17 a night last year, 13th among all defensemen.
So wake up, Lubomir Visnovsky. Your team needs you.