Washington Capitals veteran forward Tom Wilson may have just earned himself another extended vacation away from the National Hockey League.
For those of you who missed our earlier report, Wilson completely destroyed 24 year old St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist on Sunday night when he delivered arguably the hardest hit of the 2018 National Hockey League preseason thus far. It was a classic case of a young player failing to keep his head up at the worst possible time, as he tried to cut back across the middle of the ice, and an experienced hitter catching him in the act and absolutely punishing him for daring to cross the ice in such manner.
There's already been plenty of debate on social media regarding whether or not the check was a legal one and I don't think that fans on either side of this argument are about to come to a consensus anytime soon. Some fans are arguing that Wilson initially made contact with Sundqvist's shoulder, and based on the very limited number of video replays I have seen that appears to be correct, while others are arguing that the initial point of contact doesn't even matter given that players are no longer allowed to deliver blows to the head under any circumstances in the NHL.
Regardless of how you feel about the situation one thing is certain, Oskar Sundqvist was in very bad shape following the hit itself and after the game St. Louis Blues head coach Mike Yeo addressed the media and provided an update on his young forward. Unsurprisingly the news is not good but what was surprising was just how grim Yeo made things sound for Sundvist at this point. Yeo informed NHL.com's Tom Gulitti that Sundqvist is "not good" at this time and added that the Swedish forward had suffered multiple upper body injuries as a result of the hit. Presumably one of those injuries will prove to be a concussion of some type by that is only speculation on my part at this time. When Yeo was pressed for a more concrete time table regarding Sundqvist's recovery Yeo indicated the he expects his defenseman to be out for a considerable length of time as a result of this hit.
That is bad news for Wilson as the NHL has shown a history of punishing players more severely when their illegal plays injure opposing players for any serious length of time. Personally I'm not a fan of that style of punishment but that is how the NHL has operated historically and if Sundqvist is in as bad a shape as it sounds like he is this could be a long vacation for Wilson. It gets worse though.
There are now some rumors floating out there that indicate the league has already decided to review this hit and NHL insider Chris Kuc has indicated that the review will involve Rule 48. For those of you who don't know Rule 48 pertains directly to hits to the head of another player and given the NHL's desire to crack down on those hits, Wilson may be made an example of. Combine that with his history for making these type of hits and it could be a real bad time to start the season for the Washington Capitals.
Update: NHL confirms t's an in person hearing for Tom Wilson, this looks like it will be 5 or more games.