Following two controversial calls in consecutive games, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson is feeling frustrated.
In Thursday’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, Wilson was issued 17 penalty minutes after fighting Michael Pezzetta and receiving the instigator penalty. Two days later, Florida’s Givani Smith threw a punch at Wilson from the Panthers’ bench after his shift had already ended. When Wilson responded from the ice, the two earned matching minors. Wilson flipped out in the sin bin while his head coach Peter Laviolette was furious at the officiating staff from behind the bench.
The Caps’ forward can’t make sense of it and blames the officials for unfairly targeting him. “You know what? Honestly, I don’t really know what’s going on like rules-wise,” Wilson said after the game against Montreal. “The other night, I ask a guy to fight, I square up and get 17 minutes. I get punched from the bench on a line change and we kill three consecutive penalties. It’s tough.”
On Saturday night, Wilson was once again penalized when he retaliated after being hit from the Panthers’ bench, and the officials decided to give both Smith and Wilson two-minute roughing penalties. Wilson did not begin the altercation, nor did he commit an infraction from the bench.
The Capitals’ enforcer was shocked at the officials’ response.
“Honestly, that was the first time [I’ve ever been punched from the bench],” he said. “I don’t know what the rule is. I thought if you get punched from the bench off the ice it’s probably a game misconduct. We go four-on-four, and then we kill two or three penalties, I don’t know what it was, for the rest of the period.
“It was obviously a big game for them but we’re still trying to win games. That was a little frustrating. It’s never happened. I maybe should not have reacted but if you get punched from the bench, you kind of react with the territory.”
That’s the thing Wilson, you always seem to have an excuse for why you behave the way you do. Wilson plays a physical game and needs to understand that it comes the territory.