Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been suspended 20 games by the NHL for an illegal check on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundvist. The league’s department of player safety announced the decision mere hours before the Capitals are to start their 2018-19 season.
Washington’s Tom Wilson suspended twenty games for an Illegal Check to the Head on St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist. https://t.co/ojQ4yN6oFN
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) October 3, 2018
Wilson will forfeit $1,260,162 in salary for the suspension, per NHL Numbers.
Wilson’s hit on Sundqvist occurred in Sunday’s preseason finale. He was immediately ejected from the game after the hit.
The amount of games is definitely more embarking on his reputation of being a repeat offender for illegal hits. The league’s thinking is almost certain more so to send a message to Wilson and any other repeat offenders.
Sidney Crosby, who is the star player of the Capitals’ rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins and a victim to multiple concussions stemming from hits, spoke out against Wilson’s violent playing style. Wilson had been suspended three times last season stemming from hits on opposing players, including a three-game suspension during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run after Wilson hit Penguins forward Zach Aston Reese. Aston-Reese then suffered a broken jaw.
The league’s decision will certainly not be a popular one among Capitals faithful. But given his reputation for being a dangerous player, the decision around the league will be met with a different perspective.
Wilson was an integral part of the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup last season, as he played on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, posting career-highs of 14 goals, 21 assists, and 35 points. His increase in production and fit to play next to the Capitals’ biggest two stars earned Wilson a six-year deal worth $31 million this past summer.
The Capitals are set to raise their first-ever Stanley Cup Champion banner Wednesday as they open the season hosting the Boston Bruins. However, they’ll do so without one of its top-line forwards and barring an appeal, will have to cope for the next additional 19 games afterwards.