Wil­son won’t face sup­ple­men­tal dis­ci­pline

Caps F was ejected Fri­day for check to the head vs. Devils

Sunday Star - - SPORTS - (WPNS)

— Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals for­ward Tom Wil­son won’t face any sup­ple­men­tal dis­ci­pline from the NHL Depart­ment of Player Safety af­ter he was ejected from Fri­day night’s game against the New Jersey Devils for an il­le­gal check to the head, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion con­firmed.

Wil­son col­lided with for­ward Brett Seney in the sec­ond pe­riod, and though the hit was late and could have been con­sid­ered in­ter­fer­ence, the con­tact was through the shoul­der. The league rarely sus­pends for in­ter­fer­ence when there’s not sub­stan­tial head con­tact.

Seney was not in­jured on the play, and Wil­son will play in Sun­day’s game against the Ana­heim Ducks. Through nine games, he’s scored seven goals with six as­sists, play­ing on the top line as well as the power play and penalty kill.

“It’s pretty frus­trat­ing, to be hon­est,” Wil­son said Satur­day. “I’m out there, I’m feel­ing good about my game, I feel like I’ve made some re­ally good ad­just­ments, the team is play­ing well and then you get thrown out of a game. It sucks. Ob­vi­ously I was pretty frus­trated about it last night but it’s the re­al­ity and we deal with it to­day and move on. We can talk about it all day, but it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter. It’s all been re­solved and we have a big game to­mor­row.”

It’s been just nine games since Wil­son re­turned from the fourth sus­pen­sion of his ca­reer, and though the Cap­i­tals ar­gued that Wil­son’s rep­u­ta­tion worked against him in the ref­er­ees’ as­sess­ment on the ice dur­ing Fri­day’s game, oth­ers de­rided Wil­son for not avoid­ing an un­nec­es­sary hit al­to­gether.

“I’m hav­ing a re­ally tough time with this one be­cause he isn’t even in­tend­ing to make a hit,” Cap­i­tals Coach Todd Reirden said Fri­day. “It’s in­ci­den­tal con­tact, and he is fol­low­ing his de­fense­man down the wall. The player backs into him, he

tries to get out of the way of the player, makes him­self as small as pos­si­ble, and there’s in­ci­den­tal con­tact. He’s not even at­tempt­ing to

make a hit, and we get a fiveminute penalty that could’ve cost us the game. This guy is do­ing ev­ery­thing he can to try to play the right way, and this is how things are hap­pen­ing. It’s a tough sit­u­a­tion . ...

“I’m still try­ing to see how it’s a penalty. I think any other

player, I don’t know if — it’s maybe an in­ter­fer­ence call. Maybe.”

The Depart­ment of Player Safety ul­ti­mately con­sid­ered the match penalty on the ice suf­fi­cient, and be­cause Wil­son didn’t make con­tact with Seney’s head nor used force be­yond his own mo­men­tum,

the hit wasn’t deemed wor­thy of a sus­pen­sion. Ac­cord­ing to the col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment, Wil­son’s his­tory isn’t fac­tored into the depart­ment’s de­ci­sion to sus­pend. It is only con­sid­ered when de­ter­min­ing dis­ci­pline for a hit that war­rants a sus­pen­sion on its own.

But con­sid­er­ing Wil­son has vowed to stay out of the depart­ment’s crosshairs and his last sus­pen­sion cost him the first 16 games of the season, Fri­day night was yet an­other re­minder of the cau­tion he now has to play with.

“That’s the re­al­ity of it,” he said. “Any­time I’m in­volved in con­tact it’s as­sumed that I’m skat­ing away and that’s a match penalty. It sucks but that’s what it is. I just have to keep try­ing to play my game and pro­duce and help the team win. As we saw, I have to be very, very care­ful about any type of con­tact.”

AP PHOTO

Cap­i­tals coach Todd Reirden speaks with of­fi­cials af­ter right wing Tom Wil­son left the ice, dur­ing the sec­ond pe­riod of Fri­day’s game against the Devils.

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