UPDATE: The Department of Player Safety has suspended Wilson for 3 games.
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson is facing suspension. He will have a hearing today with the NHL Department of Player Safety, the NHL announced via Twitter this morning.
Typically a hearing is a precursor to a suspension, though that is not guaranteed. Tuesday night in Game 3, Wilson lined up Pittsburgh Penguins rookie forward Zach Aston-Reese and delivered a full speed, high check with broke Aston-Reese’s jaw and concussed the forward.
Wilson is no stranger to controversial hits. In Game 2 of the Capitals Round 2 series against the Penguins, Wilson shouldered Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the head. The NHL ruled the hit was unavoidable because Dumoulin changed his head position as he slowed to avoid a check by the oncoming defender, Alex Ovechkin.
The NHL was entirely incorrect, but that was the ruling.
Wilson also took out Columbus Blue Jackets center Alex Wennberg in Game 1, Round 1.
In Game 3, the Penguins were incensed that Wilson laughed on the bench as Aston-Reese laid on the ice. And that Wilson laughed through the rest of the game as other Penguins challenged Wilson to atone for his crime.
Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz called Wilson’s laughter “Disrespectful.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, who earlier in the playoffs explained he doesn’t think publicly lobbying officials has a positive effect, said he hopes the league “Does something about it.”
Wilson was suspended twice in the preseason. He missed two games for “interference” and then the first four games of the regular season for a separate hit to the head in the Capitals final preseason game.
Wilson, 24, had begun a career turnaround of sorts. He was playing on the Capitals top line with Ovechkin and receiving praise from Capitals head coach Barry Trotz for his non-injurious work. In nine playoff games this season, Wilson has seven points (2g, 5a).
Here are the three controversial Tom Wilson hits in these playoffs. Perhaps at some point, the NHL will take them more seriously: