ICYMI: NHL hits Tom Wilson with biggest suspension of the season.
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ICYMI: NHL hits Tom Wilson with biggest suspension of the season.

The Washington Capitals forward has once again found himself on the wrong side of NHL Player Safety.

Jonathan Larivee

The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety has thrown the book at Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson.

Wilson will miss the next 6 games at a pivotal point in the season for his team, with the Capitals currently in a desperate battle to make it into the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs. Wilson receives the 6 game ban for "high-sticking" Toronto Maple Leafs forward Noah Gregor, but it was more of a slash to the face than anything else.

There's no question that Wilson intended to deliver a slash to Gregor but I don't believe that Wilson intended to catch his opponent in the face given his body language immediately after the blow. Wilson appeared to attempt to hug Gregor as if immediately recognizing that he had gone too far, something that Gregor himself has all but confirmed.

"I don’t think he’s trying to slash a guy in the face," said Gregor. "I don’t think anyone in the league is ever trying to do that. Probably a little reckless with the stick and unfortunately got me, but I’m fine. The league will handle it."

Regardless of what Wilson's intentions may have been, the reality is that he was reckless with his stick and a blow of this nature to the face of an opponent will always be worthy of a suspension. Some will question the length of the suspension, with 6 games being a brutal penalty as the Capitals are in the midst a playoff race down the stretch, but the Department of Player Safety has explained that Wilson's history of suspensions in the NHL played a role in their decision.

"He is accountable for the dangerous result of the play, which is the direct and forceful blow to an opponent's head, by a player with a substantial track record of supplemental discipline."

As a result Wilson receives the biggest suspension of the season for an on-ice incident, sharing that honor with Detroit Red Wings veteran David Perron who was also suspended for 6 games earlier in the season.

For a full breakdown of the NHL's ruling, check out the video below: