Columbus Blue Jackets fans probably know the drill by now.
The Blue Jackets defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 for their first regulation road win of the season, but it naturally came at a huge cost. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline passes along word from Columbus head coach Scott Arniel that James Wisniewski broke his ankle during the game.
The somewhat good news is that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said it’s not necessarily a season-ending injury and that doctors will examine the damage on Friday.
Either way, Wisniewski has suffered through a disastrous debut season as a member of the Blue Jackets. He started it off with that notorious eight-game suspension. Things have been a little rocky on the ice, too, as his solid 17 points have been overshadowed by a -18 rating.
Suspensions and injuries have been a frequent nuisance in Wisniewski’s career; the 75 games he played in 2010-11 were a career-high. Still, this season seems like a concentrated combination of every issue that nagged him during his career: sloppy defensive play, discipline issues and now health problems have plagued his 2011-12.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.