Takin' a T/O with BT: Why James Wisniewski's Hit Didn't Change a Thing

xx yySenior Writer IMarch 19, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 05: James Wisniewski #34 of the Anaheim Ducks skates before the game against the Detroit Red Wings at the  Honda Center on January 5, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The internet is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

While we’ve got Caller ID on our phones so that you can avoid talking to telemarketers or your mother-in-law, paper shredders for unwanted mail, bills, repossession notices and pink slips, and ear-plugs for when the neighbor’s kid tries to make like Hendrix, you can’t un-see or un-read something.

Message boards and comment threads are filled with opinion, most of it brash, abrasive, and more right than any one comment or idea before it or the six after it.

Isn’t free speech lovely?

Granted the censoring or limitation of comments in any mass sense is about as likely as Kirstie Alley convincing producers to sit more than two feet from the swear button (“beep”) whenever she takes to the screen again, so you really have to take the good with the bad.

But that’s what it always is. Good or Bad. Legal or illegal. Sandals or socks. No fine line, no middle-ground, not even two-thirds ground or a moral pogo-stick that would at least let you hop back and forth between one belief and another.

Bob McKenzie of TSN said it best when he talked about there being only two sides to the argument of James Wizniewski’s recent hit against Brent Seabrook: “One faction will say it’s (the resulting eight-game suspension) is not enough. The other will say ‘grow a set’ and let the boys play.”

In fact, I got that exact same reaction recently following a piece on Alexander Ovechkin’s hit (or “steering”) of Brian Campbell :


“Dear Writer: You’re a wimp. You don’t need milk for your Cheerios, your tears will soften them up enough. Please go put your dress back on and stop this. Thanks.”


Two things: One is that I prefer Flutie Flakes. The proceeds go to a better cause. Two is that I’ll gladly put my dress back on, so long as I can borrow a pair of earrings from your mother/aunt/sister.

The danger that we get into though, is that everything is opinion. No one is really wrong for they way they interpret something or how they feel about it, especially when we’re playing fast and loose with the suspension law.

I, however, am wrong more often based on the fact I write more words.


Four words (“You suck; I’m right)=Winning statement. Full-fledged article=I’m a schmuck.


Math aside, the opinions haven’t changed during this hit.

Despite the charge, premeditation, interference, and recklessness of this hit, there were still those saying that Wizniewski was simply “giving it back” for what happened to Anaheim Ducks’ winger Corey Perry earlier in the shift.

There is nothing wrong with a difference of opinion, but on a hit that the NHL deemed worthy of an eight-game suspension, was obvious of at least intent to retaliate if not injure, and left Seabrook more visibly comatose than a cabbage, I find the  “Get off your high horse and accept that this is a contact game” argument a little out of touch.

On the ice there should be sportsmanship, as there should be—but all too often isn’t—in the comment threads. Whether you’re in favor of it or not, I think it’s acceptable for fans to be shaken by this.

It doesn’t mean they like the game any less than you, know any less about it, or are any less of a man or woman than you, simply because they were horrified by the result.

For Seabrook, he probably spent a good portion of his night with his head next to a bucket. Much the same as people who are, thinks they are, or wishes they were Irish did on Wednesday evening, but for a far more despicable reason.

I agree with the eight game suspension. I agree with calling it a “retaliatory hit” to an opponent who didn’t know any better, didn’t expect it, and probably couldn’t tell you his jersey number afterwards.

Granted he’s remorseful, but Wisniewski should suck it up and, instead of pointing at the Matt Cooke incident and saying “but, but, but….”, call his friend (no texts despite already doing so), accept he did something wrong, and learn from it.

And those beliefs shouldn’t have me wearing high heels or a skirt anytime soon.


Want Bryan in a shorter form? Follow him on Twitter@BT_88 and get in contact with him using his profile or e-mail at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com. Also, check out his archives and Hockey54.com—The Face of the Game!