Sunday: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Wilson has elected to serve his seven-game suspension and will not appeal it.
Saturday: The Department of Player Safety has come down hard on Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson, suspending him seven games for his hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. As the accompanying video explains:
On this play, the combination of Carlo’s battle with [Jakub] Vrana, his head being low as he looks for the puck, and Wilson’s angle of approach, combine to leave Carlo in a position where he is defenseless. Through no fault of his own, he is in a position where he is unable to brace for contact, anticipate the hit, or protect himself in any way from Wilson, who is approaching from outside his field of vision.
The league admits that hits like the one Wilson threw happen frequently, but still believes the totality of the situation—including substantial contact with the head—elevates it to supplementary discipline. The NHL also obviously took into account Wilson’s history with the Department of Player Safety. In the video, they explain:
This is a player with a substantial disciplinary record taking advantage of an opponent who is in a defenseless position, and doing so with significant force.
Wilson has been suspended four times and fined twice in the past, leading to the seven-game ban. Carlo also suffered an injury on the play, which is also taken into account in these situations.
Obviously, in a shortened schedule, suspensions have even more impact on a team. Wilson will miss an eighth of the entire schedule with this new penalty and forfeits more than $300K in salary.