According to the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan, neither Josh Anderson or Tom Wilson will be suspended for their illegal checks in last night’s Washington Capitals-Columbus Blue Jackets game. Anderson received a five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit on Michal Kempny, during which the Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice. Wilson was given a two-minute charging penalty for a hit on Alexander Wennberg, who is listed as doubtful for the next game.
Khurshudyan reports that the league “could not determine whether or not Wennberg’s head was the main point of contact” given the camera angles, meaning Wilson will not face further discipline. That comes on a busy day for the Department of Player Safety, who are also dealing with an incident from the Toronto-Boston series.
If Wennberg can’t go, it is a big hit for the Blue Jackets who clawed back to win game 1 in overtime. Already relatively thin at center, the team would also need to replace him on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Wennberg scored the first Blue Jackets goal, but ended up playing just 10:51 after leaving early in the third.
Having Wilson escape without suspension is also huge news for the Capitals, who rely on him to give some physical and defensive balance to their scoring lines. Playing 18:55 last night, he also led all Washington forwards in penalty kill time. After the game, Wilson told Khurshudyan that he was just trying to finish his check, but sometimes he might have to rethink the hits he lays late in games. “That cost us the game” Wilson said, referencing the then-tying goal that Thomas Vanek scored on the ensuing powerplay.