Capitals forward Tom Wilson has long been a notorious NHL delinquent and the No.1 undesirable for the league’s player safety department thanks to his polarizing career. His controversial style of play is effective in annoying opponents and angering their fans, but sometimes it goes too far, resulting in injury.
He had spent nearly two and a half years without official punishment from the league despite continuing to play with a reckless abandonment, because the ambiguous NHL rules regarding upper body contact make these types of games difficult to pursue. He ultimately received justice with a seven-game suspension – which will cost him $ 311,781.61 – for boarding the Bruins Brandon Carlo in a March 5 game.
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As of March 6, no NHL player has been more penalized since Wilson joined the league in 2013. Of his 333 penalties (regular season only) during that time, more than 20% have been major (72 ). They total 1,052 minutes, including 16 fouls and two match penalties. Only three other players (Antoine Roussel, Cody McLeod and Evander Kane) have more than 700 penalty minutes. Again, those numbers don’t even include his poor playoff behavior.
Wilson has now been suspended five times and fined twice by the league.
Regardless of his opinion of Wilson’s play, one thing cannot be argued: he has repeatedly placed himself in situations worthy of consideration. Here is a general timeline recapitulating each of these instances.
This article was originally published in 2018. Tom Gatto contributed to this report.
Wilson spent so much time between penalties not because he cleaned up his act, but because he hadn’t done enough to get the attention of the NHL. Then came his hit on Carlo.
Carlo’s head hit the glass on the end boards after Wilson led a check with his shoulder. Carlo had to leave the game and was then taken to a Boston hospital. No penalty was issued, which angered the Boston bench even more.
The NHL announced a hearing with Wilson the next day. The league then issued a seven-game ban.
“While there are aspects of this move that can sidestep the line between suspendable and non-suspendable, it was the totality of the circumstances that made this game merit additional discipline,” the Department of Human Safety said. players. “What separates this shot from the others is the direct and meaningful contact with the face and head of a defenseless player, causing a violent impact with the glass. He is a player with a substantial disciplinary record who benefits of an opponent who is in a helpless position and do so with considerable force. “
Despite good faith discussions during the offseason to try and change a more secure style of play, Wilson started the 2018-19 season where he has frequently been in recent years: in hot water with the DPoS. In the Capitals’ final preseason game, Wilson blinded Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist with a free kick. Wilson received a match penalty and Sundqvist suffered a concussion and a shoulder injury.
As the hockey world called on the NHL to send a strong message once and for all, the league imposed its toughest penalty yet against Wilson, suspending him for the first 20 games to start the regular season. The DPoS cited his repeat offender status and an “unprecedented frequency of suspensions” to justify the longest suspension in the NHL since 2015. Wilson lost $ 1,260,162.60 in salary.
Wilson came under scrutiny on four (!) Separate occasions during the Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup race. The first took place in Game 1 of the First Round series against the Blue Jackets when he was penalized for accusing Alexander Wennberg. The Player Safety Department took a look, but ultimately ruled against further discipline because reading angles “couldn’t determine whether or not Wennberg’s head was the main point of contact.” Wilson did not receive a hearing.
Wilson then knocked down Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin in Game 2. Dumoulin was skating past Wilson, recovering at the last second to avoid a hit from an Alex Ovechkin. Wilson followed his failure, hitting Dumoulin in the head, but he was not penalized. Wilson explained that the blow was the result of Dumoulin’s last-second maneuver. He again avoided a hearing with the DoPS.
The most egregious – and the one that ultimately earned Wilson a three-game suspension – came in Game 3, when a blow to the head from the Penguins’ Zach Aston-Reese shattered the rookie’s jaw and caused a concussion.
Wilson argued that the point of contact was Aston-Reese’s shoulder and, depending on the angle of the replay, it might not be conclusive whether this constituted illegal head control under current rules.
Wilson again sparked suspense noises in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, rushing down the blind side of Jonathan Marchessault. The Golden Knights’ playoff scoring leader, well behind the game, had released the puck with plenty of notice for Wilson to calm down. The NHL ultimately spared Wilson again.
Wilson was suspended twice before the start of the 2017-18 season. He missed two shows – the NHL equivalent of a slap on the wrist – for a September 22 hit over the Blues’ Robert Thomas.
Eight days later, Wilson received the most severe penalty of his career to date after boarding Sam Blais in yet another show against the Blues, resulting in a major penalty and a game foul. The DoPS has been tough on Wilson, suspending him for the first four games of the regular season – the only significant suspension Wilson has served so far. He lost $ 97,560.96 in gambling salary.
December 2016: John Moore
Devils defenseman John Moore had to be kicked off the ice after Wilson punched him from behind, pushing Moore into the face of the boards first. Wilson was not penalized. Moore was diagnosed with a concussion and missed 17 games. The DoPS did not hold a hearing.
April 2016: Conor Sheary
Wilson escaped suspension but was fined $ 2,900 (the maximum allowed under the NHL collective agreement) for a knee-to-knee collision with Penguins forward Conor Sheary in Game 1 of their second-round streak in 2016. As he skated toward the bench, Wilson deliberately went out of his way to get in touch with Sheary, who was in pain but remained in the game. Wilson was not penalized.
April 2016: Nikita Zadorov
Wilson’s April 1 free kick to Avalanche defender Nikita Zadorov split the clean versus dirty discussion in the middle. As Zadorov scanned behind the net, Wilson descended to the other side of the ice and ignited his unsuspecting target. Zadorov suffered a concussion but has played in each of Colorado’s last four games. Wilson, who was not penalized during the game, did not receive a suspension.
December 2015: Brian Campbell
Wilson was sent off in the third period of a Dec. 10 game against the Panthers for boarding defenseman Brian Campbell. This was his only penalty as the DoPS determined the hit was not worth the suspension. Campbell didn’t miss a game.
December 2015: Curtis Lazar
Wilson received a game penalty for a blow to the head from Senators forward Curtis Lazar, but the penalty was later overturned by the NHL before Wilson served a mandatory game suspension. The Capitals had argued that the head contact was accidental, but rather caused by an initial hip check. The league never publicly explained its decision and the match penalty was erased from Wilson’s record.
April 2015: Lubomir Visnovsky
Wilson received a minor charge for leveling Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky in Game 4 of the Capitals’ first round playoff series in 2015, a piece that injured Visnovsky, a serial concussion victim, and the ‘prevented from playing the last three games of the series. Wilson was not more disciplined.
December 2013: Brayden Schenn
Wilson’s first clash with the NHL disciplinarians involved a Dec. 17 hit from the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn, when Wilson entered the blue line and leveled Schenn in the end boards. Wilson was kicked out and the piece drew a telephone hearing with the DoPS. The league ultimately voted against a suspension and instead released a lengthy video explaining its decision to spare Wilson.
This article has been updated from its original publication to reflect Wilson’s full disciplinary information.