Toronto’s Nazem Kadri is facing a suspension Friday and although it appeared Washington’s Tom Wilson also deserved to be reviewed for supplementary discipline, it appears he avoided a hearing for a hit thrown on Alex Wennberg.
Wilson, the big-bodied right winger for the Washington Capitals, delivered his own questionable hit in Game 1 of their series with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Less than two minutes into the third period, Wilson took a charging penalty for leaving his feet while checking Wennberg. The Blue Jackets scored on the ensuing power play, which tied the game at two.
Although both teams scored another in regulation before the game was decided in overtime, Wilson acknowledged his penalty and the goal that followed was a turning point in the game.
“I’m just trying to finish my check there,” Wilson said, via the Washington Post. “I’m obviously not trying to take a penalty. That cost us the game. That’s a critical moment. I’ve got to be better and maybe pass up on that hit. We’ve got the lead there so maybe a big hit is not needed. It’s playoffs. Trying to finish your checks, and unfortunately I took a penalty. They capitalized on a couple of their opportunities there in the third period.”
Wilson has already been suspended a couple times this season: he received a two-game ban in September for a hit on Robert Thomas, and before pre-season was over he received another four-game suspension in early October for charging Sammy Blais. A player known for physicality and playing on the edge, those were the first two suspensions of Wilson’s career, but were recent enough for him to be considered a repeat offender.
Wennberg left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return. He is not expected to be able to play Game 2.
Wilson, 24, scored a career-high 14 goals and 35 points this season playing mostly on the top line with Alex Ovechkin. He was a big factor in Washington’s Round 1 win against his hometown Maple Leafs last year as well, scoring three goals in the six-game series.
With Drew Doughty already receiving a one-game suspension this post-season for a hit to the head and Toronto’s Nazem Kadri facing discipline for his own dangerous hit to the head, the Caps should consider themselves lucky that Wilson avoided a similar fate.