Tom Wilson Suspended 20 Games

It’s opening night for the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. An opening night unlike any other for Capitals fans world-wide, as they greet the new day with great joy and anticipation in seeing the franchise’s first championship banner hoisted to the rafters. But for Tom Wilson and Washington Capitals front office staff, including Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan, they had an other, much less celebratory start to the day. 

Wilson and the Capitals contingency traveled to New York City Wednesday morning for a hearing with NHL’s Department of Player Safety. Probably the very last thing they wanted to do on this “banner” day.

The reason for the quick trip to the “Big Apple” was to argue Wilson’s case for the hit he made on St. Louis Blues centerman Oskar Sundqvist in last Sunday’s preseason final against the Blues. The verdict: Wilson will be suspended twenty games for an illegal check to the head. He will be able to return to games on November 21, at home versus the Chicago Blackhawks.

Tom Wilson’s suspension will cost him $1,260,162.60 of his salary this season.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DOPS) released its verdict Wednesday afternoon, along with a video explaining their reasoning:

The DOPS stated “Including preseason and postseason, this is Wilson’s fourth suspension in his last 105 games, an unprecedented frequency of suspensions”.

The incident:

Wilson’s in-person hearing with the Department of Player Safety in New York lasted less than two hours.

Appeal Process

Per Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post, It’s unclear if Wilson plans to appeal the suspension. He has 48 hours to provide written notice of an appeal to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, but it’s highly unlikely Bettman would overturn the Department of Player Safety’s decision. Wilson could then appeal to a neutral arbitrator, and in both cases, Wilson remains suspended during the appeal process (unless the full term of his suspension has run).

Capitals General Manager Brian Maclellan was asked about the hit on Tuesday during his annual preseason media session. MacLellan said he didn’t have an opinion either way, and wanted to hear the league’s stance on the play before rendering his own opinion. Maclellan also stated that he and Wilson watch video of hits from around the league together, and discuss other incidents that occur around the league, all to gain a better understanding of today’s rules.

Maybe the most troubling aspect of the decision is the current rate of escalation for the length of Wilson’s suspensions, which could progressively increase over the remainder of his career. Wilson just signed a six-year, $31 million contract extension back on July 27.

By Jon Sorensen

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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22 Responses to Tom Wilson Suspended 20 Games

  1. Ellen joyner says:

    I think they pick on him, that’s why he keeps getting suspended. He is a very good player and he plays hard.

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  3. Dominic says:

    The case of two players flying hot on thenice run into each other unintentionally and they call it a crime. What a sham!!!

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