While the return of Philipp Grubauer and Evgeny Kuznetsov’s game-winning, overtime goal were arguably the highlights of the Capitals’ -3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night, right wing Tom Wilson’s demolition of Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole also stands out. The incident, however, was not the first time Wilson and Cole have made the headlines in the same game.Wilson took exception to a questionable hit by Cole on Kuznetsov, for which he received a five-minute major penalty for interference, five-minute fighting major, and a game misconduct. Wilson received a fighting major, instigator penalty, and a 10-minute game misconduct, but it was undoubtedly worth it in defense of one of the Caps’ most valuable players.
The incident, however, is not the first time Cole has drawn the ire of the Caps and Wilson. During Game 2 of the Capitals’ second round series matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins (with whom Cole was playing at the time) on April 29, 2017, Cole delivered a dangerous hit from behind on Wilson, boarding him in the process and leaving Wilson dazed afterwards. No penalty was delivered to Cole during the game and the NHL did not suspend him for the play.
Game 2 – Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs
The bout on Thursday night highlighted one of the many values Wilson brings to the Capitals. In addition to being an offensive contributor and valuable penalty killer, Wilson can also be effective in sending a message to an opposing team or player when they take issue with one of the Capitals’ star players. As Capitals analyst Alan May pointed out after the game, Wilson did an excellent job of picking his battle. The NHL has not announced any discipline for the play for Cole.
By Michael Fleetwood