Yesterday, the NHL came down on Islander defenseman James Wisniewski for his bush league move during their 6-4 win over the Rangers on Columbus Day. He was suspended two games for a silly post-whistle stunt which wasn't appropriate. Especially with plenty of kids at the holiday game.
During a scrum in which frequent target Sean Avery gave Rick DiPietro a snowshower, the newest Islander came over and stuck up for his goalie which was fine. Unfortunately, the 26 year-old Canton, Michigan native went overboard by making a profane gesture at the Ranger bad boy. The league has a zero tolerance policy for any kind of stuff that doesn't have a place in our sport. With players sometimes doing gang signs these days and sometimes losing their heads when things heat up, this is an area Gary Bettman Inc. have gotten right. So, the Islanders lose their most important blueliner for two games because he couldn't control himself. Granted. It was Avery and there probably was an exchange of words. But Wiz needed to show better control.
Starting tonight, Wisniewski will miss a pair of games against two of the East's best with Scott Gordon's club traveling to Washington and Pittsburgh to play Alexander Ovechkin's Caps and Sidney Crosby's Pens. Not exactly the teams you want your big minute logger out for. In the club's first two games, he was off to a good start with a goal and two helpers along with seven hits.
There's a reason The Wiz is on his third roster in two and a half years. Despite being a very capable player who can contribute in all facets, he has developed a bad reputation for not always using his thinking cap, which has gotten him in trouble. Most notably, he was banned eight games for this cheapshot on former Hawk teammate Brent Seabrook. This is the fifth time Wisniewski has been suspended in two years. At least the former Chicago '02 fifth round pick who was part of Team USA's World Junior Championship 2003 squad took responsibility for his actions.
"A lot of actions on the ice are regrettable," Wisniewski said in a statement. "I've been given a suspension from the league, and I'm going to accept it and move on from here."
As for Avery whose mouth off the ice once got him in huge trouble with Dallas earning a six-game ban and counseling for anger management, he took exception.
"Can you imagine if I did that?" he said. "They sent me to rehab the last time I did something. It's crazy."
Oddly enough, that was the only instance in which he's been suspended with the Stars throwing him off the team, setting up his Broadway sequel for the only team who will have him. Avery has also been fined twice by the NHL. But that's it. Go figure.
The Islanders will need someone else to step up in place of Wisniewski, which could mean more minutes for Mark Eaton, Radek Martinek and surprise contributor Mike Mottau. Figure Andy MacDonald to also see a hike while Jack Hillen likely makes his season debut tonight as the Isles (1-0-1) look to remain unbeaten in regulation.