Ducks' James Wisniewski is back in a familiar place

Ducks' James Wisniewski is back in a familiar place
Defenseman James Wisniewski faces off against his former team when the Ducks play the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. (Christine Cotter / Associated Press)

James Wisniewski strode Monday through the same arena hallway that he had walked for more than three seasons, then changed course and entered the visitors' dressing room.

"Just weird, but it's part of hockey, I guess," Wisniewski said.


The Ducks acquired the defenseman from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the NHL trade deadline this month for forward Rene Bourque, center William Karlsson and a 2015 second-round draft pick.

Wisniewski said that although he is pleased to have landed with the Western Conference leader, he never requested a trade and was committed to helping the team that signed him to a six-year, $33-million contract in 2011.

"It's tough [when] you feel you've invested so much into the community, the organization, but they felt it was time to move on and. ... I get a chance to contend for the Cup every year," he said. "Really, they did me a huge favor."

Jarmo Kekalainen wasn't Columbus' general manager when Wisniewski was signed, and when massive injuries hit in November and the Blue Jackets swooned, Kekalainen decided the timing was right for a deal.

Wisniewski arrived in Anaheim with an injured foot, which limited his conditioning, and has contributed two assists through seven games. He was minus-two in the Ducks' 7-2 road loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday.

"We can all give a little more," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Wisniewski. "We've won games he's been in the lineup, but 'Wiz' will be the first to tell you he can be better."

Bourque has four goals in eight games with Columbus, which is 13-20-2 at home and seventh in the Metropolitan Division.

"At one point in November, [Columbus] had nine starting NHL guys out of the lineup," Wisniewski said. "It's kind of been doomed ever since then … just for this year. They'll turn it around next year.

"But your world gets turned upside down — you're moving across the country, you've got two little kids at home — you kind of just have to say, 'Bye,' and move on."

Wisniewski invited some former teammates to dinner Monday and said he hopes for a warm greeting from the fans Tuesday.

"It's a business … I got moved," Wisniewski said.

New day

The Duck who epitomized Sunday's punishing loss to the Rangers was forward Patrick Maroon, who fell to the ice in the first period and was promptly struck by a shot from teammate Clayton Stoner.

In the third period, Maroon was hit by a stick and a shot from Corey Perry nearly simultaneously, forcing the trainer to the ice and an exit for the night.

"That's the way hockey goes sometimes, now we move on," Maroon said.

Boudreau put the Ducks through an intense practice Monday, similar to the workout in Carolina on Feb. 11 after three consecutive losses.

"The boys responded well today, a lot of skating and battle drills, that's what we needed to do," Maroon said. "Everything was on target, everyone was moving their feet. You can't come in and hang your heads. We have eight games to get ready for the playoffs."

10 on 30

Perry's fifth 30-goal season came despite being sidelined for 15 games because of the mumps and a knee injury.

"Tough year, but I had a great start and that propelled me to where I am now," Perry said of his 11 goals in the first 13 games. "The last month, it hasn't been going to the net for me, but hopefully [two goals [Sunday night] was the turning point that propels me to more."


When: Tuesday, 4 p.m. PDT.

Where: Nationwide Arena.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket. Radio: 830.

Etc.: Forward Nick Foligno leads the Blue Jackets with 25 goals and is tied with center Ryan Johansen with 38 assists.