Washington Capitals enforcer Tom Wilson did not have a great preseason: he picked up two suspensions before the start of the regular calendar; the second caused him to miss the first four games of the regular season.
Wilson is making his 2017-18 debut tonight, and admitted that he will change his style to make sure his hits are clean.
“For the majority of the past four seasons, you watch pretty much every one of my hits in frame by frame, tenth by tenth seconds, and you can’t find one thing that’s wrong with it,” Wilson said to the Washington Post. “They’re textbook body checks broken down even slow. You have to trust yourself. It’s such a fast game.
“That being said, you know what, [being out of the lineup] wasn’t a good feeling. Maybe when I’m approaching a hit, think about it a little more and make sure, 100 per cent, that the outcome is going to be clean and make sure the guy’s going to be in a good spot after I hit him and take into account all of those things.”
Though Wilson believes his hit on St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas, where he picked up a two-game preseason suspension for interference, was clean, it was the second four-game suspension for boarding Blues forward Sam Blais that got him thinking about changing his style of play.
“Just recognize if someone is vulnerable,” coach Barry Trotz said of what Wilson could change.
In 82 games last season, Wilson scored seven goals and 19 points while leading the Caps with 133 penalty minutes.