Tom Wilson’s 20 Game Suspension is Excessive

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Posted October 4, 2018

Despite the suspension, Wilson dressed for the pre-game Stanley Cup ceremony. (Caps Outsider)

The NHL Department of Player Safety sent a clear message in suspending Tom Wilson for 20 games, almost a quarter of the season, for his hit on Oskar Sundqvist.

As the video below says, it is Wilson’s fourth suspension in 105 games, and he is a repeat offender.

The suspension is excessive and here’s why.

From the two angles shown in the video, it is hard to tell what exactly the main point of contact was. While I am not saying it wasn’t the head of Sundqvist, it is hard to definitively tell. If there was an angle from the far boards, the direction Sundqvist was cutting, there would be more of a definitive angle.

Wilson has a bad reputation in the NHL, primarily for actions early on in his career. One example I like to point out, is that in 2016, the NHL DoPS made a video as to why they did not suspend Wilson, despite many people calling for him to get a lengthy suspension.

This was the first time I had seen a video where they said they were not suspending someone, and I had not seen it since. In addition, prior to his three game suspension in the second round of the playoffs, people were calling for him to be suspended for a hit on Brian Dumoulin, that the NHL ruled “unavoidable head contact.”

We saw last season, and in contract talks this season, that Wilson’s physicality is what makes him unique. It is why he is a key part of the team. We saw last season with his offensive production that here is more than just a goon, and we saw what made the Caps draft him 16th overall in 2012.

In addition, it is important to take into account what non-biased people said of the Wilson hit.

While it is good that the NHL is finally sending a message that these hits, and especially repeat offenders, will not be tolerated, 20 games seems excessive. Depending on which Caps fans you ask, some will either say, “its about time” or disagree with 100% with suspending him whatsoever.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with the suspension, or the length, the NHL has to do a better job of getting headshots out of the game, and it took a step forward with this suspension. Unfortunately for the Caps, it happened to one of their key players.