In the second period of the Capitals’ Metro division battle against the New Jersey Devils, Tom Wilson hit Brett Seney from behind on a back check.
The Capitals defended Wilson in the locker room, stating that the hit wasn’t to Seney’s head and that it wasn’t on purpose. “Any other player, it’s an interference call maybe,” head coach Todd Reirden said.
Reirden thought Wilson was just trying to make a play for the puck and that the hit was incidental contact.
“I’m having a really tough time with this one because he’s not even intending to make a hit,” Reirden said. “It’s incidental contact. He’s following his defenseman to the wall. Player backs into him. He tries to get himself out of the way of the player.”
Reirden expanded, saying that the resulting five minute major “could have cost us the game.”
“[Wilson] is doing everything he can to try to play the right way and this is how things are happening,” Reirden said.
Reirden then circled back to the two hits that TJ Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov suffered during the Caps loss at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets as foils for Wilson’s hit. “We just had two players that had concussions they don’t even call a penalty on.”
One of those plays, Brandon Tanev’s hit on Kuznetsov, was deemed an interference penalty.
Evgeny Kuznetsov didn’t mention the hit from behind, instead stating that it simply wasn’t a hit to Seney’s head.
“I don’t think he hit him in the head. That’s the biggest point for me,” Kuznetsov said. “He’s a big guy. It’s maybe like two minutes. Not the five and game misconduct. But I’m just a player and I gotta do my job. I would never judge the referee’s decision.”
Andre Burakovsky didn’t think Wilson was even trying to land a bodycheck.
“I don’t think he’s making any effort really to hit him,” Burakovsky said. “It just bumped into him a little bit. I don’t know if he did it on purpose. He doesn’t have the puck. We’ll have to look closer at it. I don’t really know. But for sure he didn’t make an effort to hit him hard.”
The hit didn’t cost the Caps the game, as they went on to win 6-3.
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