Capitals’ Tom Wilson Suspended 20 Games For Hit To Head Of Blues’ Oskar Sundqvist
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was suspended for 20 games on Wednesday after a blow to the head on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist.
A repeat offender, this is Wilson’s fourth suspension since last September, spanning only 105 games. This 20-game suspension is a significant one, the longest for any NHL player since 2015. It’s also the longest of Wilson’s suspension-studded career.
Even when pursuing the team’s first Stanley Cup victory, he was banned from three games in the 2018 postseason. The “high, forceful hit” was avoidable and intentional, according to The NHL Department of Player Safety, which reinforced its decision to ban the frequent offender, citing it “had no formula for a player who had been suspended this often in the modern era including just 16 games between suspensions.” Players who repeatedly violate league rules will be more severely punished for each new violation, according to the collective bargaining agreement with the NHL and NHLPA.
Teammates were frustrated with the decision, accusing the NHL of targeting Wilson for his past. The Department of Player Safety said Wilson’s suspension during the last postseason was the combination of an “extreme injury” and an “extreme history”. This is what frustrated teammates this time around.
Devante Smith-Pelly of the Capitals detested the NHL’s moves on his teammate. “Honestly, I think it is garbage if I’m going to be honest,” he said. “We watched a video from the league saying what hits are good and what aren’t. They showed some hits way worse than that, maybe not in force, but in regards to the head, that were so-called allowed. I guess he just has a different rulebook. It’s garbage, honestly.”
This suspension may or may not see the upward trend of rehabilitation for the troubled Caps forward.