The Washington Capitals were dealt a blow as the NHL regular season kicked off this week, when the league front office handed forward Tom Wilson a massive 20-game suspension. It was punishment for a nasty hit that Wilson dished out to St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in a preseason game last week.
Even though it wasn’t the first time Wilson has been in trouble for a questionable hit (he was banned for three playoff games last season for another hit to the head), his teammates were quick to speak up in his defense. Fellow winger Devante Smith-Pelly was perhaps the most outraged, calling the NHL’s 20-game ban “garbage.”
“Honestly, I think it’s garbage. We watched a video from the league saying what hits are good, and which ones aren’t. They showed some hits that were way worse than that … maybe not in force, but as it regards to the head, that were so-called ‘allowed.’ I guess he just has a different rule book, and I think it’s garbage, honestly.
“You can’t just [suspend] because it’s him. We all feel he went through the shoulder. The guy has a separated shoulder. Just because it’s him, you don’t have to make a statement.”
Wilson is allowed to appeal the suspension, but hasn’t announced a decision yet. He will forfeit roughly $1.4 million in salary if he serves the entire suspension.