Athletic report suggests Tom Wilson was suspended for Brandon Carlo hit because Gary Bettman ‘didn’t like the optics’
Tom Wilson avoided being suspended for starting a line brawl against the New York Rangers on Monday, but he wasn’t so lucky earlier in the season.
In March 2021, Wilson was suspended for seven games for a hit he made on Brandon Carlo that sent the Bruins defenseman to the hospital. It was the fifth time Wilson had been suspended by the Department of Player Safety in his career.
The Capitals believed (strongly) that the hit was legal; Wilson’s supplemental discipline marked the first time in NHL history a player was suspended for boarding on a hit that wasn’t from behind. “On the ice, even the ref said like ‘it’s not two minutes. It’s a [clean] hit’ and the guy gets seven games,” Alex Ovechkin said.
In an unusually broad explainer video, DoPS reasoned that the “totality of circumstances” surrounding the Carlo hit required Wilson to be suspended seven games.
Now we’re learning more context surrounding that suspension, which seems to explain why Wilson’s punishment was so severe.