Though you may not have noticed it while watching the final moments of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 7-0 crushing of the Ottawa Senators yesterday, Scott Wilson left the ice with an apparent head injury after receiving a forearm/elbow from Tommy Wingels. Mike Halford of NBC’s ProHockeyTalk reports that the league will not have a hearing with Wingels following the incident, even though he served no penalty as time expired. As Pierre McGuire exclaimed on the NBC broadcast as time was running down, Wilson immediately left the ice surface and quickly headed down the tunnel. He was not present at the morning skate according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, though it was optional and only thirteen players attended.
As the frustration of the lopsided affair boiled over Wingels clearly tries to inflict pain—though perhaps not injury—on Wilson as the Penguins’ forward just dumps the puck down the ice. It’s a dangerous play, and one that clearly had an effect on Wilson as he didn’t wait around to celebrate with teammates. Head coach Mike Sullivan reports that Wilson is “fine” but the injury outcome seems secondary when watching the hit.
The NHL Department of Player Safety has been criticized in the past for its apparent inconsistency when it comes to hits that contact the head, with this being the latest divisive case. While some may see it as a targeted head-shot with the intent to injure, others may view it as an attempt at a check that unfortunately contacted the head first. Either way it is a bit surprising that there is not at least a phone hearing scheduled, especially while the league is embroiled in a legal battle about how they handle head and brain injuries.