On Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 20-suspension that landed on Washington Capitals Tom Wilson. The Caps troublesome forward was issued the hefty suspension by the NHL’s department of player safety back on Oct. 3, three days after he was ejected from a pre-season contest for an illegal check to the head against St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist.
As it was expected, Wilson reacted to the commissioner's judgement on Friday as Sportsnet's John Shannon revealed earlier today that the gritty forward has decided to appeal the appeal.
Now, the neutral arbitrator that has been named to hear the appeal is Shyam Das -- the same arbitrator who reduced Nashville Predators' Austin Watson's suspension earlier this month. Many people have criticized the choice of arbitrator, as former NHL player Dan Carcillo points out the issue with Wilson being behind a lot of head injuries in the NHL.
Earlier this month, Watson suspension for domestic abuse has been reduced from 27 to 18 games by an arbitrator. The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association announced arbitrator Shyam Das’ decision on Oct. 11th. Now Watson is eligible rejoin the Predators on Nov. 15 when they wrap up a five-game road trip Arizona. If the 27-game ban had stood, he would have been out until Dec. 3.
Many wonder if Das will once again reduce a hefty suspension this season. Wilson has so far missed eight contests and is eligible to make his season debut Nov. 21 against the Chicago Blackhawks, unless a partial arbitrator overturns Bettman's latest decision. Wilson was granted “non-roster player” status by the NHL, which allowed the Capitals to make roster moves without worrying about Wilson using up one of 23 roster spots during his suspension.
Wilson has had three previous infractions occurring in the past 13 months — something the league called “an unprecedented frequency of suspensions in the history of the department of player safety.”
The meeting will take place on Wednesday in New York.
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