The NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Wednesday afternoon that they have suspended Capitals forward Tom Wilson three games for an illegal check to the head on Penguin’s forward Zach Aston-Reese.
Wilson will be eligible to return for Game Seven of the Caps-Pens series if it’s necessary.
Here is the video explanation from DoPS.
No penalty was initially called on the play, but Aston-Reese suffered a concussion and a broken jaw as a result of the hit. DoPS argued that Wilson could have stayed “low and hitting through Aston-Reese’s core,” but instead “extends up and into the hit unnecessarily, rising up onto the toes of his skates then coming completely off the ice through contact.” DoPS also explained that “the head was the main point of contact on a hit where such contact was avoidable.”
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan challenged the DoPS after the game to “do something.” His wish was granted.
Wilson is already on thin ice with the league this postseason. During the Caps’ first-round series against Columbus, he made contact with Blue Jackets player Alex Wennberg with a blindside hit to the head, resulting in Wennberg’s injury, most likely a concussion. While Wilson was penalized during the game, there was no supplemental discipline. Wennberg missed three games during the series, but returned for Games Five and Six.
Wilson also caused controversy during Game Two against the Penguins Sunday, when he hit Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the head inadvertently with his shoulder. There was no penalty on the play, and while DoPS reviewed the hit, they once again determined that there would be no supplemental discipline.
This would mark Wilson’s third suspension this season. He was previously suspended twice in the preseason for illegal hits, including a four-game ban for boarding.
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