Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
At 8:58 of the first period in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning, there was a big hit from Anton Stralman on Tom Wilson along the boards that could open some eyes from the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Just a few minutes after Wilson laid out Tyler Johnson, Stralman retaliated. As Wilson was going for the puck along the boards, Stralman left his feet and slammed his right elbow into Wilson’s neck. Wilson’s left side of his face made contact with the glass.
Anton Stralman boards Tom Wilson pic.twitter.com/6Utmql31oq
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 16, 2018
Wilson told reporters after the 4-2 loss that the hit left a “goose egg” on his head
“He leaves the feet. I’m in a pretty vulnerable spot and he drives my head through the glass,” Wilson explained. “I’m not one to lay out on the ice but it took me a little bit to collect myself and got back out there. Everything I’ve heard all year. He sees numbers for a good amount of time and he elevates through the back of my shoulder and head.”
Wilson headed to the bench and went down the tunnel to get evaluated by training staff. He returned later in the period. After facing past discipline from the Department of Player Safety, most recently for his hit on Zach Aston-Reese in Game 3 of the Capitals second round series against the Penguins that resulted in a three-game suspension, Wilson believes the DoPS needs to do their job and evaluate the hit.
“It’s their job to take a look at the hit for sure. I think they’re probably reviewing it. I don’t know how much goes into it,” Wilson said. “I can tell you maybe if it’s the other way around, you better believe they’re looking at it and you better believe there might be more attention on it. It doesn’t matter.”
“Obviously the league is gonna look at everything and I’ve said that, that’s why they’re a neutral party,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz added. “When I looked at it, I thought numbers and launching yourself in.. those are two things that are red flags but the league is gonna look at it. They do a good job and whatever they decide, but I understand where Tom is coming from. No question.”
Whether the league will look at the hit or not, it is controversy nonetheless. Recently Michal Kempny was fined $2,419.35 for his cross-check on Cedric Paquette in Game 2. We’ll find out on Wednesday if the league decides to take action on Stralman whether it be a fine or a hearing.
“If I make that hit, 100 percent I’m probably sitting out,” said Wilson.
By Michael Marzzacco