In fairness to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson, he stood to gain nothing by speaking freely or truthfully about the blindside, concussive hit Ryan Reaves laid on him, last week. Just as Zach Aston-Reese politely declined to really get into Wilson’s vicious cheap shot last May, or how most of Vegas declined to get into Wilson’s blindside hit on Jonathan Marchessault last April.
Or the St. Louis Blues largely declined to get into Wilson’s concussive hits on Oskar Sundqvist in the 2018 preseason, his hits on Sam Blais and Robert Thomas in the 2017 preseason.
Actually, Wilson has done as much damage in St. Louis as Stan Kroenke (the owner who moved the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles).
Wilson, 24, was helped off the ice Dec. 3, after the 225-pound Reaves accelerated through Wilson well after the puck had cleared the play. Reaves was not suspended and Wilson missed the last three Washington games.
Wilson was cleared to resume hockey activity this week and faced the media, Wednesday, “It sucks, but it’s hockey,” said Wilson. “Injuries happen.”
Yes, they do. And Reaves certainly intended to send a message. Stepping aside from the moral questions of justice, retribution, and vigilantes, Wilson has earned his share of condemnation, too. The NHL called his rate of supplementary discipline “unprecedented,” when it dished a 20-game suspension for his hit on Sundqvist in September. An independent arbitrator later reduced the suspension to 14 games.
“There’s really no point in talking about it at this point. It was a week ago, or whatever,” said Wilson. “It is what it is.”
“It’s hockey. It’s a physical sport. Stuff happens.”
Perhaps if hockey included less “stuff”, Wilson wouldn’t have spent the past week in the concussion protocol. He removed the non-contact jersey in practice yesterday and could return to the Washington lineup, Friday. Wilson has been on an offensive tear when in the lineup this season. He has 14 points (8g, 6a) in just 11 games.