On Friday, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson spoke to the media following today’s optional morning skate at Medstar Capitals Iceplex prior to hosting the New York Rangers (7 PM ET, NHL Network nationally, and NBC Sports Washington locally). He discussed his seven-game suspension and his thoughts of not being on the ice.
“I obviously digested it after the first couple days, but as of late…trying to get focused…when the team has me back,” he said on the suspension. Wilson has one more game to serve and should be able to return to the lineup on Saturday. “It’s one of those situations where obviously you kind of hoped it didn’t happen for a number of different reasons, but it is what it is and I just got to control the future.”
Wilson has avoided the NHL’s Department of Player Safety given his last suspension was 29 months ago in which he would not be considered a repeat offender. “I’ve continued to adjust,” he said, adding, “The game is always adapting year-to-year…at the end of the day, I can’t be missing seven games. I can’t be missing one game. I’ve got to be in the lineup.”
“I’ve been physical my whole life..that’s in me. For now, I just have to continue to develop my offense and chip in offensively, and help the team win…and obviously be more careful to make sure I’m not putting myself in those spots.”
The DoPS announced on March 6 that Wilson would be suspended for seven games for boarding defenseman Brandon Carlo in the team’s 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins the night before. He was not given a penalty on the play. Wilson mentioned he reached out to Carlo to see how he was doing, saying, “A lot of people wouldn’t believe me, but you never want to see a fellow peer get injured…I texted him the next day and was happy to hear he was feeling better.”
Wilson often leaves a sour taste in hockey fans’ mouths outside of the DMV due to his style of play and past suspensions. He said, “The support from D.C. [and] the support from the Capitals organization has been amazing. For all the haters you see, there’s a lot of good you see.”
He is a “proud teammate” after the Capitals have gone 6-0-0 without him on the ice. “They’ve been playing great hockey. I’ve been traveling with them. I’ve been practicing with them every day, so I’ve stayed fairly involved. Moving forward, it’s crunch time now…this is meaningful hockey. This is when we ramp everything up.”
By Della Young