After receiving no reduction for his 20-game suspension from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman this week, Tom Wilson was given seven days to decide whether he’d take his appeal to a neutral arbitrator. It didn’t take quite that long to make a decision, as John Shannon of Sportsnet confirms that Wilson and the NHLPA will in fact appeal once again. This was not unexpected, as Wilson basically has nothing to lose at this point and could potentially see some of his lost salary returned to him.
When Dennis Wideman followed the same path and saw his suspension for colliding with an official reduced from 20 to 10 games, the Flames defenseman had already missed the original amount. What he did recoup by still appealing to the third party arbitrator was salary, which is part of why the NHLPA and Wilson will continue this course of action. The Washington Capitals forward has already missed nine games this season, and is scheduled to be eligible to return after the team’s November 19th matchup with the Montreal Canadiens. This arbitration process can be lengthy, and there’s a good chance most, if not all of his suspension will have already been served by the time a decision is made.
Bettman released a 31-page decision after a seven hour hearing for the first appeal, which detailed how the Department of Player Safety went about their 20-game decision in the first place. It also hoped that the long ban would serve as a “wake-up call” to Wilson in its conclusion, stating that the previous suspensions had clearly not been effective in deterring his behavior.