NEW YORK – Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason and for eight regular-season games and will forfeit $536,585.36 for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck during a preseason game on September 23, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan announced today.
Wisniewski, who was suspended last season, is classified as a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Accordingly, he forfeits his salary based on the number of games in the season (82), rather than the number of days (185). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Following the horn that ended the third period, Wisniewski delivered a blow that targeted Clutterbuck’s head and made it the principal point of contact. Wisniewski was assessed a minor penalty for illegal check to the head.
Columbus, which lost 3-1 to Washington in preseason action Monday, will now have to start the season without one of its key offseason acquisitions.
"I found out about it between periods. It was a tough one to swallow," coach Scott Arniel said after the game. "Obviously, the League has a mandate, and they're trying to really set a tone here early on in the season, and it was harsh. It was very harsh.
"It was a lot harsher than I was expecting, but there's not much we can do about it. We've got to move forward -- they've made their decision. We've already put our best foot forward when it came to our side of the story, and obviously the League felt that, being a repeat offender, a blow to the head, that was the call that needed to be made."
Wisniewski missed the Sept. 25 preseason game vs. Buffalo and Monday's game at Washington, and will sit out Thursday vs. Minnesota and Friday at Carolina. He also will miss regular season games Oct. 7 vs. Nashville, Oct. 8 at Minnesota, Oct. 10 vs. Vancouver, Oct. 12 vs. Colorado, Oct. 15 at Dallas, Oct. 18 vs. Dallas, Oct. 21 at Detroit and Oct. 22 at Ottawa. He will be eligible to return Oct. 25 vs. Detroit.