Tag: repeat offenders

Columbus Blue Jackets Press Conference Introducing New Players Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski

NHL hands James Wisniewski a heavy suspension that includes eight regular season games


Previous suspensions should have illustrated this point already, but let there be no doubt: Brendan Shanahan is for real.

The NHL’s new head of discipline hasn’t been shy about sending messages with suspensions so far, but Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski received the harshest punishment yet – it will sideline the team’s expensive new blueliner for the remainder of the preseason and eight regular season games.

That blows Jody Shelley’s preseason-plus-five-games ruling out of the water, especially when you consider Wisniewski’s far more crucial role with the Blue Jackets. One can see the difference in the amount of money Wisniewski will forfeit compared to other players. While Brad Staubitz will give up a bit more than $9,000 and Shelley’s wallet will be short about $67K, missing almost 10 percent of Columbus’ 2011-12 season will cost Wisniewski a whopping $536,586.36.

Breaking down the punishment

Wisniewski administered an illegal hit to the head of perennial NHL hits leader Cal Clutterbuck during the waning moments of the Blue Jackets’ Sept. 23 exhibition game against the Minnesota Wild. Wisniewski received a minor penalty at the time of the infraction. He already missed yesterday’s contest against the Buffalo Sabres as the league mulled over the decision, while he’ll sit out tonight’s match against Washington, Thursday’s contest against Minnesota and Friday’s preseason closer at Carolina.

Obviously, the Blue Jackets will be much more concerned with those regular season games. Here’s a quick look at Columbus’ upcoming schedule, including the first game he’ll be eligible for (in bold).

Oct. 7: home vs. Nashville
Oct. 8: at Minnesota
Oct. 10: home vs. Vancouver
Oct. 12: home vs. Colorado
Oct. 15: at Dallas
Oct. 18: home vs. Dallas
Oct. 21: at Detroit
Oct. 22: at Ottawa
Oct. 25: home vs. Detroit

That span of games shows just how big a blow this should be for the Blue Jackets and their pricey new defenseman. Wisniewski will miss two games against Central Division teams and seven contests versus Western Conference opponents.

A history of illegal violence

To some, this might even rank as an excessive penalty, but don’t forget that Wisniewski is a repeat offender. The rambunctious defenseman has been suspended on four different occasions before today:

  • Two games on Oct. 12, 2010.
  • Eight games on March 18, 2010.
  • Two games on Nov. 2, 2009.
  • One game on March 12, 2008.

Considering his lengthy history of questionable behavior, it’s hard to say if this punishment will get through to him, although Wisniewski must have been feeling pressure to justify that new contract right away. This is a terrible way to begin a hefty new contract and while the point might not really sink in for Wisniewski considering his pattern of mistakes, hopefully other players might start to get the message that illegal hits won’t be tolerated.

If not, we might end up watching a lot of Shanahan videos this season – and I’m not talking about funny commercials, either. Here’s the new head of discipline’s latest suspension explanation video.

Jesse Boulerice’s wife takes to Facebook to announce controversial hitter’s retirement


Few players with as careers as undistinguished as Jesse Boulerice’s have generated as much attention as the troublesome hitter did during his limited hockey career. Then again, few managed to become repeat offenders for such ugly incidents in such a concentrated amount of time – and few retired in as strange a way as Boulerice did last week.

Puck Daddy shares his strange retirement announcement, which came through a Facebook message from his wife Jacqueline (who also advertised her new business in the process). Boulerice finished his career with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but most people will remember him for his suspension-filled career.

His final impression for many fans came when he received a 10-game suspension for landing a small hit on a referee during an AHL game. While that move was dumb enough, his worst moments of violence made him a notoriously bad apple. He was even charged with assault in 1998 after hitting Andrew Long in the face with his stick. That wasn’t the only time he used his stick in an ugly way, however, as he also received a 25-game suspension for cross-checking Ryan Kesler in the face on October 10, 2007.

Many in the hockey world will probably utter a sigh of relief that Boulerice is out of the picture, even if someone else will likely step into his place (though probably not with the same splashy results). Hopefully Boulerice will find a way to make a more positive impact with his next job, but if nothing else, he’ll leave his playing days behind in a memorable and odd way.

Rangers to speak with Sean Avery; He says “it will all work out somehow”


Perhaps it only makes sense that Sean Avery is putting on a serene public face when it comes to being charged with shoving a police officer and embarrassingly calling them “fat little pigs.”

One can imagine that Avery is just used to these self-inflicted gaffes. In a way, it’s nearly reminiscent of Nicholas Cage’s character in “Raising Arizona.” He keeps getting in trouble and showing back up in prison, but seems friendly enough each time he makes his way behind bars.

Of course, the difference is that most of Avery’s foul-ups have been of the trivial, regrettable sound byte variety rather than legal problems. This situation could be a considerably bigger problem than a tasteless “Sloppy seconds” joke or waving his stick in front of Martin Brodeur in a juvenile manner, although one can only speculate how (or “if”) the NHL itself will react to his arrest.

If you ask Avery, it will blow over sooner or later, as he told Helen Kumari of the New York Post.

“I’m all right, I’m good,” a relaxed, smiling Avery, 31, told The Post at his Spanish bungalow in the West Hollywood hills after posting $20,000 bond on the battery charge.

“It’ll all work out at some point,” predicted Avery, whose on- and off-ice antagonism toward opponents and coaches have made him one of the NHL’s most-hated players during his career.

As Joe wrote yesterday, Avery’s court date is set for September 2. He could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the battery charges. It’s unclear how the league and his team will react to the situation, though.

“We will discuss this matter with Sean, and have no further comment at this time,” said Rangers spokesman John Roscasco.

The meeting will probably be stern and to-the-point, but it’s hard not to imagine a scene in which the hockey equivalent of a high school principal just throws up his hands and says he doesn’t know what to do with Avery.

There’s never a good time for this kind of behavior, but what makes it even more troubling is that this isn’t some young kid having one self-destructive night; Avery is 31 years old. There have been signs that he isn’t an all-around bad guy, but you have to wonder how many chances he has left to keep his fledgling NHL career alive.

Avery is in the final season of that big mistake of a contract the Dallas Stars gave him in 2008. Pests like Avery are often double-edged swords in that they can occasionally take penalties that hurt their own teams, but the key for the good ones – or at least the employable ones – is to bring more “pluses” than “minuses” to the table. Avery has a long way to go to prove that his on and off the ice issues don’t make him one big minus.