Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau sent a message Tuesday by sitting Cam Fowler in the press box for an eventual 5-3 loss to Columbus.
Now, is he sending another message to another defenseman?
James Wisniewski, the Ducks’ big trade deadline acquisition, will be scratched tonight when Anaheim takes on Boston at TD Garden. The decision comes with Wisniewsky having played in just eight games for the Ducks, registering no goals, three assists and a minus-4 rating while averaging 20:38 TOI.
The 31-year-old is coming off his heaviest workload since joining the team, however. In the aforementioned loss to his old Blue Jackets squad, Wisniewski played 22:54 and led all Ducks d-men with 4:33 of power play time. That could be part of the reason why he’s out tonight; Boudreau also has defensemen at his disposal and enough healthy bodies to do some lineup tinkering. Simon Despres drew back in for the Columbus game, Korbinian Holzer has yet to make his Ducks debut and the club could always call on rookie d-man Josh Manson, who’s currently with AHL Norfolk but has looked good at times this season.
That said, it’s hard not to look at this healthy scratch as Boudreau sending a message, especially after what Fowler had to say about Tuesday’s scratch.
“With the luxury that we have with eight premium NHL defensemen, sometimes something like this is going to happen,” Folwer explained, per the O.C. Register. “It’s on the individual. It’s on myself. It’s because of my play recently. As hard as it is to say, it’s just the honest truth.
“So when you have guys that can step in any given night, you have to make sure that you bring your ‘A’ game or else something like this can happen. It’s a bit of a wake-up call for sure.”