After Tom Wilson was given a 20-game suspension from the Department of Player Safety just before the start of the season, the wheels were almost immediately put in motion on an appeal through the NHLPA. The first such appeal, in which Wilson’s representation will be able to argue their case in front of commissioner Gary Bettman, will take place tomorrow in New York according to John Shannon of Sportsnet. Wilson has already sat out the Washington Capitals first five games, and will obviously miss a sixth tonight against the New York Rangers.
If the commissioner does not find reason to reduce the suspension, Wilson can then appeal through a neutral arbitrator similar to Austin Watson. Watson’s suspension was reduced from 27 games to 18, though that ban was for a domestic assault conviction and not an on-ice incident.
When the league’s Department of Player Safety handed out Wilson’s suspension, it noted that no other player had been given supplementary discipline at such a rate. This was Wilson’s fourth suspension in just over 100 games, and one that could define his career. If he were to return and be involved in a similar incident, there could be reason to suspend him for another huge chunk of games if not the remainder of the season. The appeal though could save Wilson quite a bit of money even if it comes down after the fact, just as Dennis Wideman did when his suspension was reduced after already serving more than 10 games.