Wilson’s Clean Hit Shows the NHL’s Targeting Needs to Stop

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 04: Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 4, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Capitals 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

opinionEverything was going right for the Capitals in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators until one innocent hit changed everything. Tom Wilson, the Caps’ most physical player, was given a match penalty for a “hit to the head” of Ottawa’s Curtis Lazar.

It was clear as day a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit but of course the referees didn’t see it that way.

According to CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley, the match penalty will result in Wilson being suspended, pending a review of the footage. While that may be hope for some, it shouldn’t be. It’s a foregone conclusion that Wilson will be reprimanded for his clean hit; one that seems to have many outside Washington deeming the 21-year old right-wing a dirty player.

While Caps fans have been berating the officials and the NHL for their targeting of Wilson, tonight pushed many (including myself) over the edge. It’s downright repulsive when one considers that players like Zac Rinaldo of the Boston Bruins has delivered far dirtier hits than Wislon’s this season and were not reprimanded. Wilson has always played philysically and hard hockey. When clean hits like this are disciplined, the NHL is ruining the sport of hockey. On the Capitals Postgame Live on CSN, Capitals broadcaster Alan May stated that Canadian media and American media would make this a story that will be blown out of proportion. It’s clear that Wilson has become a disliked player by many, and through no fault of his own. And if the Capitals don’t address this soon, Wilson will continue to be unfairly penalized for hits that are clean.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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4 Responses to Wilson’s Clean Hit Shows the NHL’s Targeting Needs to Stop

  1. Shirley Valvo says:

    I have never been so angry at the officials, and I have never heard the VC get so loud over a call. There was nothing wrong with that hit, but there was everything wrong with Wilson being attacked on the ice like that.

  2. Mike says:

    If you wanted to make a point that this was a clean hit, you shouldn’t have posted the second .gif, which makes the hit look like a head shot.

  3. Pingback: Opinion: The Penalty to Tom Wilson Not the First Time The NHL’s Officials Have Targeted the Rugged Winger | NoVa Caps

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