Sean Avery was right yesterday when he said that he'd be cast out for doing what James Wisniewski did in Avery's direction yesterday; that doesn't factor into what NHL VP of operations Colin Campbell will do here, but I think Wisniewski will get a one-game ban for the obscene gesture he made during the Isles 6-4 win.
-- Wisniewski is a two-time repeat offender. True, both his suspensions last year were for intent-to-injure hits -- including an eight-game ban for a very purposeful, dirty hit on the Hawks Brent Seabrook -- but Campbell doesn't like seeing the same faces over and over.
-- The league is as image-conscious as it gets. Gary Bettman was indeed on hand at the Coliseum yesterday; he said he didn't see the gesture, and he doesn't make rulings on things he doesn't see, but Wisniewski's crude pantomime is all over YouTube and the blogs, which means its all over the web-friendly NHL's radar. The league will not this pass.
-- Gestures are becoming punishable. Nick Boynton got a one-game ban for a preseason throat-slash gesture; Avery was thought to have induced one in the preseason from Ilya Kovalchuk, but the Devils forward was simply telling Avery to zip it.
So, expect a one-game suspension for Wisniewski, who certainly jumped into the Isles-Rangers thing with gusto his first time out.
As for the game itself yesterday, I wrote my column on how the Isles have been a star-less team for quite a while, so missing John Tavares along with Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo doesn't change their plan: Play hard, play together and fight for 60 minutes. That last one is an element that's been missing under Scott Gordon, but five goals in the last half of the third period over their first two games is a refreshing change.
The Rangers seem to still have the same issues as last season: Where's the consistency? They were a bit scattered during much of the second period in Buffalo on Saturday, but timely scoring trumped that; they had timely goals yesterday as well, but the late penalties -- especially against top-unit PKers Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal -- doomed them.
A thought: If John Tortorella's attacking style is back in full force, what will Henrik Lundqvist have to say about his goals-against? Lundqvist made a couple dazzling saves in the first two games, but he's been hung out to dry already. Worth watching.
And then there are the Devils, who are 0-2-1, playing with barely enough guys to get a game of shinny going and looking like their multi-million overhaul this summer was a bad idea.
With guys like Mike Mottau, Bryce Salvador and Johnny Oduya -- quiet, relatively no-name guys -- manning the defense, the Devils sprinted out to a 14-5-1 start last season. Now, with the marquee names driving coach John MacLean's faster-paced style, the Devils have allowed 14 goals through three games.
I have chided the Devils in the past for not having enough talent to reach that next level in the postseason these last few years; they went out and got big-name, high-priced talent. Not sure what Lou Lamoriello does next, but when the Devils are struggling, he rarely hesitates to make a move. They're so salary-cap strapped that a roster move can't be done; he can't fire a rookie coach in the first month of the season, can he?