NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the league's 20 game suspension against Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for his illegal body check on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist.
Read below for the full news release courtesy of the NHL:
NEW YORK (October 25, 2018) -- Commissioner Gary Bettman today upheld the 20-game suspension that was assessed to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson by the Department of Player Safety for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during NHL Preseason Game No. 106 in Washington, D.C., on September 30.
Commissioner Bettman heard Wilson’s appeal of the original decision, assessed Oct. 3, at a hearing in New York on Oct. 18.
Wilson is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $1,260,162.60. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 5:18 of the second period. Wilson was assessed a match penalty for illegal check to the head.
Wilson, of course, was suspended 20 games in the preseason for a BRUTAL headshot on Sundqvist, but appealed his case shortly thereafter. Should Wilson elect to appeal Bettman's decision, he'll have to plead his case in front of a third party arbitrator. It's not yet known however if he intends to go this route or not.
For those who have forgotten, here's the hit in question:
Immediately following Bettman's decision, TSN analyst Frank Seravalli weighed in with some interesting insights.
Check it out:
In upholding Tom Wilson's 20-game suspension, Gary Bettman writes #NHLPA argued there was no violation of Rule 48 and "there should have been no supplementary discipline of any kind nor suspension of any duration."
Bettman writes: “When asked how long a suspension the incident warranted - assuming I were to conclude that Mr. Wilson’s check did, in fact, violate Rule 48 - the NHLPA suggested a suspension of eight (8) games.”
Bettman reveals George Parros met with Tom Wilson in Calgary in 2017 after his second (of three) suspensions last season, then again one-on-one in Toronto in Aug. 2018, just a month before his check on Sundqvist.
Bettman writes Parros also called Wilson during Stanley Cup Final for a hit on Jonathan Marchessault, warning him to "make better decisions in the timing and selection of his checks." Two other hits were also listed as questionable: on Wennberg in 1st rd, Dumoulin in 2nd rd.
In conclusion, Bettman writes, "Mr. Wilson's recent play has threatened the safety and well-being of opposing players on too many occaisions, despite prior discipline ... and despite considerable efforts of [DoPS] to counsel Mr. Wilson on how to play within the rules."