Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has served five games of his historic 20 game suspension for his BRUTAL head shot on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. And, while Wilson has formally appealed the suspension with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, he has yet to make a public statement regarding his punishment. Until now…
This past weekend Wilson opened up to the Washington Post, describing his day to day life under suspension as “terrible.”
“It’s definitely an experience that you hope you never have to go through,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot of learning. All of a sudden you’re surrounded by lawyers and stuff like that. I’m a hockey player and I want to play hockey. … [The appeal is] going to take on the business side of it. I have to focus when I come to the rink every day, and then obviously when something comes up with the situation, I have to address that in the best way that I can.”
As for his teammates, it’s clear that Wilson missed being part of the Capitals’ locker room. “The guys go on a one-day road trip, and it feels like you haven’t seen them in a month,” said Wilson.
Wilson isn’t letting the lack of playing time affect him though. He’s staying in top shape and maintains he’ll be ready to go when his suspension is lifted. “You could describe it as a guy that’s an extra forward or whatever,” Wilson said. “You have to be ready. I’m training like I am today expecting that maybe I’ll be in there tomorrow. I just have to have that mind-set. Obviously, that’s not realistic but that’s something that I’m trying to focus on and improve when I can with skill coaches and stuff like that. Keep my conditioning and work ethic up and keep my focus up in making the right plays in practice and battling hard out there, being a part of the group and staying in the same sort of routine.”
That’s all fine and well… but what’s his plan when he gets back? If he continues to play with the same reckless abandon, he’s likely to earn himself an even bigger suspension. Has he turned over a new leaf?
“I can talk a little bit more in depth once this is all over with, but yeah, for sure,” Wilson said. “The hitting aspect of the game is definitely changing a little bit, and I’ve got to be smart out there and I’ve got to play within the rules. And at the end of the day, no one wants to be in the situation that I’m in right now.”
"I’ve got to change something because obviously it’s not good to be out and not helping your team.”