This just in.
NHL independent arbitrator Shyam Das has reduced Tom Wilson’s suspension by six games after meeting representatives from the NHL and NHLPA on October 31.
Wilson is eligible to return tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
Tom Wilson’s suspension reduced to 14 games by arbitrator. No time machine to play, but does get salary back
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 13, 2018
After Friedman first reported the suspension reduction, the NHL confirmed the news in a tweet, linking to Das’s decision.
NHL and NHLPA statement on Tom Wilson suspension.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 13, 2018
The full ruling can be read here.
In total, Wilson missed 16 games but will recoup salary from the two extra games he was suspended.
The reduced suspension saves Tom Wilson $378,048.78 in lost salary. https://t.co/Qecx2nxVQy
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 13, 2018
In Das’s 43-page written decision, it is pointed out the NHLPA disagreed with Gary Bettman’s characterization of Wilson.
The NHLPA maintains there is no support for the Commissioner’s characterizing Wilson’s plays as “consistently dangerous.” It points to testimony by Parros in which he remarked on the relatively low number of hits by Wilson during the 2017-18 regular season that had been flagged for review by the DPS. Only six out of 250 hits were flagged, and none resulted in Supplementary Discipline.
Das determined that the 20-game suspension was not supported by substantial evidence. He decided on 14 games using a calculated formula.
As remedy, consistent with my findings, I conclude that Wilson’s suspension should be reduced to 14 games. I have arrived at this length by treating his most recent prior 3 playoff game suspension as the equivalent of 6 regular season games, as Parros did, doubling that based on all relevant circumstances to 12 games — which certainly constitutes more severe punishment consistent with the CBA — and adding 2 games, as Parros did, based on the injury to Sundqvist.
Wilson originally appealed to newly enshrined Hockey Hall of Famer, comissioner Gary Bettman, on October 18. Bettman upheld the 20-game suspension doled out by the Department of Player Safety, hoping the ban would be a “wake-up call” for the Capitals forward who has been suspended four times over the last two seasons.
“While he also maintained that he made significant contact with Mr. Sundqvist’s body (Tr. 38, 50.), when pressed, Mr. Wilson acknowledged that he could not conclude one way or the other whether Mr. Sundqvist’s head was the main point of contact on the play,” Bettman wrote in his decision. “Players are constantly cautioned not to put themselves in the position of ‘missing’ on ‘close hits’ where the result could be (and very often is) an illegal check to the head. Mr. Wilson has seemingly and consistently refused to heed this warning.”
Wilson was originally suspended due to an illegal hit to the head on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during the Capitals’ last preseason game on September 30.
Wilson played on the first line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin during the Capitals’ championship run last season. Wilson has been practicing with the team during his suspension.
The Capitals are holding their morning skate at Xcel Energy Center at 12:30pm.
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