BOSTON– Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson is a former first-round draft pick, a player who can score, defend teammates, and impact the game with bone-crunching hits. He also has a problem with crossing the line from legal to illegal hits and appeared to do more than just flirt with that line again on Sunday against the Boston Bruins.
His rap sheet is well known in the NHL disciplinary offices and his hit on Sunday may get a review. He was suspended earlier this season for seven games after boarding Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo, who was hospitalized following the hit.
Though Wilson was having none of that talk after the East Division matinee. According to Washington Post reporter Samantha Pell, Wilson was indignant following the game.
“Are we serious? I’m not even going to talk about it. It’s a nothing play. He’s fine. That’s it,” Wilson retorted.
In the third period of the Capitals vs. Boston Bruins, Wilson made a beeline for Boston forward Sean Kuraly, who was in a vulnerable position. Kuraly did spin off a defender and pushed the puck to the corner a moment before. The hit was not late, and Wilson had every right and responsibility to hit Kuraly as he spun to the slot.
It’s how Wilson delivered the hit that riled up Boston.
In the replay, watch Wilson go straight for Kuraly who already low. Wilson made contact with Kuraly’s head, which forced Kuraly to leave the game.
The Boston Bruins were not happy and defenseman Jared Tinordi quickly went after Tom Wilson. It was the second or third questionable hit that the Capitals delivered on Sunday, and a couple more followed. Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t happy about Alex Ovechkin’s pop on Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy in the second period.
“There’s a lot going on. It’s physical games with (Washington),” said Cassidy. “There was actually a hit with (Charlie) McAvoy at the end of the second that was more bothersome. He’s up against the boards and (Ovechkin) made contact with the head. And there was one on (Steve) Kampfer in the first period that was late. Those are the ones that bother you.”
Kuraly left the game with assistance after Wilson’s hit and appeared woozy. Kuraly was able to return later in the third period.
NBC color analyst Edie Olczyk absolved Wilson of wrongdoing, too.
“Was he coming over to hit (Kuraly)? Absolutely,” Olczyck said during the broadcast. “Kuraly ends up going down, and (Wilson) ends up getting him with an elbow? A forearm? …(Wilson) is in a tough spot there.”
While Kuraly was falling, perhaps Tom Wilson also took advantage of the situation rather than pulling up on a defenseless opponent, too.
Referees appeared to lose control of the game later in the third period. Washington grinder Garnet Hathaway boarded Tinordi into the corner boards. The hit left Tinordi dazed and bloodied. Referees used video review to issue Hathaway a boarding major and game misconduct.
Boston won the game 6-3.