By Adam Brady
Ducks fans were noticeably enthusiastic when the team brought back defenseman James Wisniewski in a trade with Columbus that was finalized just before the NHL’s noon Pacific deadline on Monday.
But they will have to wait a little bit to see “Wiz” on the ice back in a Ducks uniform. The 31-year-old defenseman suffered a bone bruise while blocking a shot Sunday night vs. Pittsburgh, which turned out to be his last game with the Blue Jackets. He flew out to Orange County yesterday morning in time to take in Anaheim’s 3-1 victory over Montreal at Honda Center. He was back at the arena this afternoon to take part in the team picture and get some treatment on the foot.
Wisniewski spent a few minutes back in the familiar confines of the Ducks locker room to talk about the trade and his return to Anaheim.
How did you find out about the trade?
|"I couldn’t be more excited to come back to an organization I’m familiar with, where I know a lot of the guys. A lot of guys are still here. I played with five guys on the team, and to be able to go from a struggling year to a legit Stanley Cup contending team is a dream come true." |
I was just sitting on my couch watching NHL Network. Two o’clock [Central] came around and I got a call from Jarmo Kekäläinen, and he told me I was traded here to Anaheim. Did you have an inkling you might be dealt?
When they had asked for my list [of teams he would approve a trade to], I kind of had a feeling they would shop me around. When I started seeing some of the teams that I might have gone to had picked up other defensemen, kind of the only team left was Anaheim. My wife even said, “Anaheim has been kind of quiet this trade deadline,” and literally five seconds later Jarmo called me. She said, “I just had a weird feeling.” What was your reaction to finding out it was Anaheim?
I couldn’t be more excited to come back to an organization I’m familiar with, where I know a lot of the guys. A lot of guys are still here. I played with five guys on the team, and to be able to go from a struggling year to a legit Stanley Cup contending team is a dream come true. Have you looked at the Ducks and determined it’s a good fit?
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve watched their games and realized their style of play fits me perfectly. They’re a big, heavy, fast team that’s physical and also offensive. They’ve done a good job of mixing in size, speed, strength and talent. All seven defensemen can play big minutes and play a physical game, join the rush, skate and make plays. The game has changed a little bit where you have to have that good transition game from defense to offense and be able to come with that second wave of attack. Anaheim does that perfectly. I’m really looking forward to stepping on the ice with them. And this is a team that has one goal in mind.
Exactly. You’ve got to think anything but the Cup is unacceptable. The longest stint I had in the playoffs was with this team when I first got traded here, going to the second round, Game 7 against Detroit. I’m looking forward to getting back into that playoff mode and being here for the long haul. Health-wise, where do you feel like you are right now?
It’s just a bone bruise, which is good, and it’s getting better and better. I’m looking to try and get my foot in a skate the next couple days and hopefully be on the road trip and get my first game in. I think that’s very realistic. I don’t see any setbacks or anything like that. As long as I can handle pain and get my foot in a skate, I’ll be fine to play. What’s your living situation right now?
’m a hotel guy for now, but I’m in the midst of looking for a place. I don’t think I want to be in a hotel for four months. I lived in Newport Coast when I was here before. I’m trying to get settled in, get the family out here. My wife is from Simi Valley, and we’ve got a lot of friends out here, so everybody is excited to see me back.