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


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.”