The Blue Jackets are 0-7-1, the NHL's only winless team. They played those eight games without defenseman James Wisniewski, who signed with Columbus in the offseason, because of an eight-game suspension he received for an elbow to the head of the Wild's Cal Clutterbuck in the preseason.
Not only are the Jackets happy to have him back for Tuesday's game with the Red Wings, but Wisniewski feels just as much joy.
“I’m happier than a pig in … stuff right now,” Wisniewski told The Columbus Dispatch. “Can’t wait.
“One thing I want to tell myself is to make sure I keep my emotions in check (and) not try to do everything myself. It’s a team sport. Obviously one guy isn’t going to go out there and win a game single-handedly, but I’m going to do everything I can to help this team win games.”
The Jackets have allowed 28 goals this season, second-worst in the League. Because of an injuries to Marc Methot (finger) and Radek Martinek (concussion), the Jackets were forced to use a third d-pairing of two rookies -- David Savard and John Moore -- in a 4-3 loss to Ottawa on Saturday.
“We’re not sitting back and waiting for James Wisniewski to be the sole answer here,” coach Scott Arniel said. “But he’s an experienced guy who knows how to play back there. With our defense so banged up right now, we can definitely use him.
“He’s a good, vocal leader, a passionate player. He plays that way, leads that way.”
Wisniewski never imagined things going this badly while he was out, but he said maybe there has been some divine intervention and a plan the Jackets were meant to follow.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “But things happen for a reason. God has his plan.
“Maybe he wants us to have a Cinderella story and come back and win the Stanley Cup after going 0-7-1.”
The Jackets held an optional practice Tuesday, but here are there lineups from Monday:
Vinny Prospal - Derrick Brassard - Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger - Antoine Vermette - Ryan Johansen
Maksim Mayorov - Sammy Pahlsson - Derrick Dorsett
Alexandre Giroux - Derek MacKenzie - Cody Bass
With Wisniewski back, it's expected that one of the two rookies will sit.