NHL suspends Capitals’ Tom Wilson 20 games for illegal hit to head

With Tom Wilson's latest league hearing set for Wednesday, we look back at all of his questionable hits, dating back to 2013.

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been suspended 20 games by the NHL for his illegal check to the head on St. Louis Blues centre Oskar Sundqvist.

The league announced the supplemental discipline Wednesday after Wilson’s in-person hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety. The in-person hearing meant Wilson was eligible to be suspended six or more games.

Wilson’s hit on Sundqvist occurred Sunday in the second period of a pre-season contest.

The 24-year-old signed a six-year, $31-million deal in July, which means he will forfeit approximately $1.26 million in salary. The money will go towards the players’ emergency fund.

Wilson has the option of formally appealing the suspension.

Following the game, Blues coach Mike Yeo told reporters Sundqvist was “not good” and that he’d “be surprised if he didn’t miss a decent amount of time.”

The Blues placed Sundqvist on injured reserve Tuesday and it remains unclear how long he’ll be out.

“Wilson delivers a high, forceful hit, which makes Sundqvist’s head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable and causes an injury,” a video released by the NHL explained.

The video went on to say Wilson took “a poor angle of approach” and made Sundqvist’s head the main point of contact rather than delivering a legal, full-body check.

This is the fourth suspension of Wilson’s NHL career with all of them coming in the past 13 months. On Sept. 22 he got two games for a late, high hit on Robert Thomas of the St. Louis Blues in a pre-season game; less than two weeks later he was assessed a four-game ban for boarding Samuel Blais also of the Blues; he then earned a three-game ban in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a hit that left Pittsburgh Penguins rookie Zach Aston-Reese injured.

“In short, including pre-season and post-season games played, this is Wilson’s fourth suspension in his last 105 games, an unprecedented frequency of suspensions in the history of the department of player safety,” the video added.

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