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Tom Wilson Likely to be Suspended (Again); Offered in-Person Hearing



WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals poses for his official headshot for the 2017-2018 season on September 14, 2017 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

(PHN) — Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson is in trouble, again. Sunday, in the Capitals preseason finale, Wilson received a match penalty for a blindside headshot on St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist. In Round 2 of the 2018 playoffs, Wilson received a three-game suspension for a headshot on Pittsburgh Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese, after narrowly escaping suspension in Round 1 against Columbus with a controversial charging penalty on Alex Wennberg.

Wilson was also suspended for the first four games of last season after boarding St. Louis prospect Sam Blais, also in the preseason finale.

Sundqvist, 24, is a former Penguins center who was traded to St. Louis in the Ryan Reaves deal at the 2017 NHL Draft. Wilson caught Sundqvist at the blue line with a blindside hit at or above the shoulders which left Sundqvist prostrate on the ice.

Even if the primary point of contact was not Sundqvist’s head, the hit was still an illegal blindside hit. Within hours of the hit, NHL Department of Player Safety offered Wilson an in-person hearing. Such meetings, instead of a phone hearing, are typically a guarantee of suspension.

Wilson’s 2017 suspension came eight days after the Department of Player Safety levied a two preseason game suspension for a hit on St. Louis forward Robert Thomas. Wilson forfeited nearly $98,000 in salary for the four-game suspension.

One may forgive St. Louis for suspending their preseason games with the Capitals.

In April 2016, Wilson was given the maximum fine ($2900) but not suspended for a knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary.

With a regular season and playoff suspension last season and several close calls, he could be facing a 10 or more game banishment. In-person hearings typically mean multi-game suspensions. Wilson signed a six-year deal with a $5.1 million AAV this offseason and his salary forfeiture will be significantly more than $98,000, this time.

The Penguins open their season against the Capitals, Thursday. Aston-Reese wasn’t sure how he would respond to Wilson if given the chance but did say he didn’t need or want an apology from Wilson.


*Editors note: The story has been modified for clarity. Wilson was suspended three times last season, including a two-game pre-season suspension. PHN did not include the preseason suspension in his total.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Keith Yanda
Keith Yanda
3 years ago

Time to send this guy packing permanently!

3 years ago

Pray not, but it’s only a matter of time until he breaks the neck of an opponent or worse with his head hunting. Que the shock and sadness from the NHL and Caps because Wilson never intends to offer these types of hits. Sarcasm obviously.
I would think 5 games is the punishment from the backward thinking NHL.

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