New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens

Cunneyworth hopes Caps don’t do anything “residual” to Bourque


Tonight, Rene Bourque will face the Washington Capitals for the first time since concussing Nicklas Backstrom with an elbow.

It’s the rematch nobody expected. Bourque delivered the hit while playing for the Flames and Washington wasn’t scheduled to face Calgary again this year — but when Montreal acquired Bourque for Mike Cammalleri last week, the stars and moons aligned for potential frontier justice.

Not that Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth wants any part of it.

“Hopefully, there’s nothing residual,” Cunneyworth told the Montreal Gazette. “[Bourque] paid his price and we hope there isn’t going to be anything residual and, if there is, then we have to be disciplined and let the refs take care of it.

“He has to focus on what he does and that’s play at both ends.”

Cunneyworth’s quotes are all fine and dandy, but let’s be real — it’s very likely Bourque’s focus will be on a swarm of angry Caps. Prior to the Montreal-Calgary deal, Washington forward Troy Brouwer lamented the fact he and his mates wouldn’t get another shot at Bourque while John Erskine, Jay Beagle and Alex Ovechkin also expressed anger at watching Backstrom, their leading scorer, get knocked out of the lineup

In a related story, Caps head coach Dale Hunter has re-inserted Erskine into the lineup for tonight’s affair — the first time Erskine has dressed in five games.

If that wasn’t a strong enough message, consider what forward Joel Ward told the Washington Post today.

“Guys are going to be playing pretty hard, especially against [Bourque],” Ward said. “Let him know that what he did, we thought was a pretty cheap shot.”

Update: Wisniewski tore ACL 47 seconds into ‘Canes debut

James Wisniewski, John-Michael Liles, Elias Lindholm
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Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.

Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.

From the club:

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.

Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.

This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.

Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.

Jordan Weal to make NHL debut for Kings

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Two days after an uninspiring performance versus San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings will be getting an injection of youthful enthusiasm tonight versus Arizona.

Coach Darryl Sutter confirmed today that Jordan Weal will make his NHL debut at Staples Center.

A 23-year-old center, Weal is expected to replace Andy Andreoff and skate between Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line.

“It’s really exciting,” Weal told LA Kings Insider. “A lot of work has gone into getting to this part of my career, and the hard work’s just going to continue. It’s going to keep going, and I’m trying to do as much as I can in this game and keep improving from this game moving forward in trying to solidify a solid spot in the lineup.”

The 70th overall pick in 2010, Weal had 69 points in 73 games last season for AHL Manchester.

Related: Jordan Weal is looking to make the leap