Tom Wilson spoke to the media after the Capitals’ morning skate on Friday. It marked the first time Tom had talked since Monday’s game against the New York Rangers.
“After the play, I would have never thought all this would have blown up,” Wilson said. “It seemed fairly routine hockey scrum to me and I think that was the feeling by both players in the box. Obviously, it took on a new life after the game.”
From your perspective, what is your reaction to everything that has been happening on social media?
Tom Wilson: “It’s been a crazy couple of days. The good thing about social media is you’re able to close it and go about your life and worry about playing hockey and worry about what’s going on in this room. I am sure it was pretty bad and there was a reaction that I saw a little bit of but try not to pay too much attention to that.”
For you personally, in the moment on Monday, what were your thoughts on the play initially, and what did you think of what it turned into after?
Tom Wilson: “After the play, I would have never thought all this would have blown up. It seemed fairly routine hockey scrum to me and I think that was the feeling by both players in the box. Obviously, it took on a new life after the game. Their guy goes to our net and kicks at our goalie and goes in there with his stick. At a young age in hockey, you’re taught to stand up for your goalie so that is what I was doing. From there, you have guys jumping on your back and I think anybody’s first reaction would be to try and throw them off you and wrestle them down to the ice. That is what I thought about it at the time. Obviously, those scrums are chaotic and there is a lot of stuff going on, but I didn’t think too much of it at the time. Nothing I say right now is going to change anybody’s opinion. They have already made that up. I just have to keep moving forward.”
Given everything that has happened and your conversations with Laviolette and anybody else you have talked to, is there anything else you would have changes or would have done differently in that scrum in retrospect?
Tom Wilson: “You know what, it is a lot easier to watch everything in slow motion after the fact and dissect everything in tenths of a second. Hockey scrums, anyone that has been in one, they are crazy. There are sticks, there are skates. By the end of the scrum, I am holding my head trying not to cut by a skate. I am getting punched in every direction. There is a lot going on so I don’t think it’s fair to go back and say “maybe I would have changed this.” It’s a hectic moment. I was not really aware at first which guys were on my back. I knew a guy had me in a chokehold and there was someone on my back. Out of respect for the players that were on the ice, I knew I didn’t want to drop my gloves. That right there wasn’t an option due to who they had out there. I tried to wrestle the guy down. It was a crazy moment, but one that is not rare to happen in a hockey game. That stuff happens. We have seen it in games since that night. I am trying to move on from it. I have looked at it and I am glad [Artemi] Panarin is doing well and he’s better. I reached out to him and that is really what matters right now.”
What was the text exchange like with Artemi?
Tom Wilson: “I don’t want to get too much into that. That is personal. I think he is a player that is great for the game. He has a great personality and is a heck of a player. I like battling against him and I just wanted to send him a text and check-in. I will leave it at that.”
Did you have a conversation with the Department of Player Safety and if you did, what was that conversation like? What did they say?
Tom Wilson: “Again, I think everything that has been made public is what I am going to stick to. There have been conversations with me, and our management, and Lavy, and it’s been a crazy few days. There has been a lot of conversations but I am not going to bring anything that was private and talk about that.”
Sorry to pretty you on this, but Laviolette did say the other day that he talked to you about just your size and how strong you are compared to maybe some other people out there. Is that part of the message?
Tom Wilson: “Yeah, I mean that is the game we are playing. You go home in the offseason and you try and get strong. You try and get fast. There are guys of all different shapes and sizes that play the game of hockey. I am 6’4″, 225 and I guess Lavy’s point is you have to be aware of that.”
Tom, you left the game the other day with an upper-body injury. Was it your hand from the fight or was it something else going on. Are you good to go tonight?
Tom Wilson: “I am good to go tonight. I am fine, I am feeling good. It is what it is.”
How strange have these last couple of games been just playing shorthanded as a team and not having enough forwards.
Tom Wilson: “It seems it has been the adversity Caps this year on many different fronts. Spronger going down with a bit of a sickness right before the game. Seemed like another crazy wrinkle to what had been a pretty wild couple days. Couple guys are dinged up but I think it says a lot about the coaching staff, about management, about the character in our room, that no matter who is out and who is playing, you are able to win games and collect wins. All being said, we got the four points in New York and we are playing for first place in the division. That is our focus no matter who is in our lineup.”
How about TJ coming back after what he went through and coming back and helping out. Without him, you would have been another guy short.
Tom Wilson: “That is just who Osh is. He is one of the best people in the world that I have met. I think that is a testament to his dad’s character and who his dad was and what he left behind. He is an amazing person and an amazing teammate. We just wanted to be there for him and he stepped up and was the leader he was. He helped us right away., We are a close group in that room and we wanted to be there for him and his family during the tough time. The Oshie’s are just such great people.”
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