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Tom Wilson has taken a ton of minor penalties lately. Wednesday night, head coach Barry Trotz benched Wilson after taking two — one for boarding and one for hooking — in the first period.
Friday after the Caps’ morning skate, Trotz talked about it. According to NHL.com’s Katie Brown, Trotz’s said he’s been working with Wilson on prioritizing going for the puck over making a hit.
“He’s been much better this year in a lot of areas and his game has grown,” Trotz said, “so that’s just something that he has to grow.” Trotz added that “the game is changing a little bit and sometimes he makes a clean hit and he’s getting a penalty because they’re taking a little hitting out of the game now.”
Here’s Trotz’s full comment, as transcribed by Katie:
I understand that I don’t want to take any of his physicality out. Guys are now brave because they turn their backs last minute, and you’ve got to understand that. I just talked to him about leading with his stick in terms of stick on puck. What that does is take you away from hitting through the guy because he’s a guy that hits through guys. If they’re staring at you then you can go through them but anytime…a lot of guys are coming in and they’re spinning that last moment. They try to draw penalties. If you lead with your stick on puck technique, then you can finish your check. Your first priority is to get the puck and if the body falls or follows through, that’s a signal to the ref that you’re trying to play the puck. He’s just understanding that those are momentum things that we want to get out of his game. He’s been much better this year in a lot of areas and his game has grown so that’s just something that he has to grow because the game is changing a little bit and sometimes he makes a clean hit and he’s getting a penalty because they’re taking a little hitting out of the game now. They’re a little more sensitive to that.
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