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Columbus coach ‘loved’ Wisniewski-Vitale brawl (w/video)

Sep 16, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT

The Blue Jackets won their preseason opener 5-4 against Pittsburgh on Sunday night, but the result might’ve been secondary to Columbus’ brass.

In discussing a huge third-period scrap between Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski and Pens forward Joe Vitale, Columbus head coach Todd Richards and president John Davidson were full of praise for Wisniewski.

“I loved it,” Richards told the Columbus Dispatch.

“If you’ve got to fight, you may as well win,” Davidson explained. “And did you see the way the team reacted?”

Here’s the fight in question:

Vitale left for observation following the tilt, the seventh he’s had at the NHL level.

It’s easy to understand why the Jackets were so hyped over Wisniewski’s performance (he also chipped in with a goal and an assist for the Gordie Howe hat trick). The team hasn’t received much from the 29-year-old after giving him a six-year, $33 million deal two years ago.

Now, the Jackets are looking at him to be a leader as they chase their second playoff berth in franchise history.

“When I think of James Wisniewski, I think of what has made him the player he is,” Richards explained. “It’s the edge, and playing on that edge with intensity.

“He showed me a lot tonight.”

  1. hockey412 - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Class brawl by Wisniewski…awesome fight. It was clear he let Vitale off the hook at the end.

    • ntvd7 - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      The head pat at the end was my favorite

      A hard nosed fight that ended with a short embrace

      Well done…

  2. tjvalley - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    I’m an islanders fan and I really liked him overall a lot. Just a definite knock on his defense at the time. Snow got better value then he paid. :-)

  3. pitpenguinsrulez - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    …and so starts a future rivalry eventhough it will sit third to Washington in second and good old Philly in number ONE!

  4. bmscalise - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    I have no issues with Wisniewski or anything he did: both guys decided to fight. But I’ve long since had enough of the preseason fights to prove how much we all care about the team – and enough of hearing them applauded by hockey brass and coaches.

    So here’s another guy out of the line-up with a head injury for no frickin reason but so that he and his opponent could prove how “tough” they are. It’s garbage that this is expected from 3rd and 4th line guys in order to secure spots.

  5. killerpgh - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    I have zero problem with fighting in the NHL. But as a coach/president I don’t think I would be happy with my highest paid d-man fighting a 4th liner in meaningless game for no real reason. I watched most of the game and unless I missed something I din’t see a reason for Wiz to fight Vitale.

  6. drone501 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    thought vitale more than held his own.

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