Capitals winger Tom Wilson banned 20 games for preseason hit
WASHINGTON Capitals forward Tom Wilson was banned 20 games by the NHL on Wednesday for a blindside hit to the head of an opponent during a preseason game, the latest and most severe punishment in what the league called an “unprecedented” series of suspensions for the physical player.
The right winger’s fourth ban in less than 13 months will cost him nearly a quarter of the 82-game regular season — only five NHL players have been suspended longer for on-ice play — and $1.26 million in salary.
“I was pretty surprised. I think it’s unfortunate for Tom that the league is making an example out of him,” Washington forward T.J. Oshie said.
“They set the standards; they want to get the dirty stuff out of the game.”
It was announced just hours before the reigning Stanley Cup champion Capitals opened their title defense by beating the visiting Boston Bruins 7-0.
Wilson did not play, but he was introduced along with his teammates during the pregame banner-raising ceremony and skated onto the ice in uniform.
Wilson, a member of Washington’s top line with captain Alex Ovechkin, was ejected for the hit on St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist in the second period of the teams’ exhibition game on Sunday.
Wilson had an in-person hearing with the NHL’S Department of Player Safety in New York on Wednesday.