The NHL Department of Player Safety has made a statement. Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been suspended for twenty games following his illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. The league has clearly had enough of the repeat offender ending up involved in incidents like this, and will have him sit for nearly a quarter of the season. As the accompanying video explains:
Players who repeatedly violate league playing rules will be more severely punished for each new violation. Wilson was suspended on three occasions during the 2017-18 NHL season. On September 22nd, 2017 he was suspended for a late, high hit on Robert Thomas. Just two preseason games later, Wilson was again suspended, this time for boarding Samuel Blais. Seven months later, Wilson was suspended for an illegal check to the head of Zach Aston-Reese. This hit on Sundqvist occurred in only his 16th game since his last suspension, which was also for an illegal check to the head.
In short, including preseason and postseason games played, this is Wilson’s fourth suspension in his last 105 games—an unprecedented frequency of suspensions in the history of the Department of Player Safety.
Wilson will forfeit more than $1.26MM in salary for this suspension, though many are already expecting an appeal or grievance from the NHLPA. If it’s not shortened, Wilson will be out until the Capitals face the Chicago Blackhawks on November 21st.