Tom Wilson is a scumbag who routinely delivers dirty and predatory hits, targeting player’s heads. Tom Wilson is a skilled hockey player who can intimidate, pass, score, and create space for his teammates as demonstrated all last year en route to a Stanley Cup. Both of these sentences can be true, they are not mutually exclusive. Now Tom has a chance to put that first sentence behind him as a thing of the past… Can he do it? I’m betting no, but he’s getting a second chance… I mean 3rd… no sorry 4th? Is it his 4th or 5th chance? I don’t know, but he’s back.
Tom Wilson’s 20 game suspension has been reduced to 14 games (though he has already missed 16) and he is now eligible to return to his team and play starting tonight. A first appeal heard by Gary Bettman saw the league uphold the suspension, however a second appeal heard by a neutral arbitrator has decided it was too severe. His reasoning? The NHL Department of Player Safety essentially pulled the 20 game number out of thin air as their logic in determining it was a bit fuzzy. Can’t really argue that, I’m convinced the league uses a plinko board to decide the number of games. Let the chips fall where they may.
It’s important to note the arbitrator still ruled that the hit was against the rules, just that the punishment was miscalculated. Wilson’s reputation is well established now as this was his fourth suspension since September of last year (105 game span!). You can go down a youtube rabbit of hole of find highlight reels of how NOT to hit all by Tommy Boy. Here’s one that is 10 minutes! long of some of his shenanigans.
This is great news for the Capitals and couldn’t come soon enough as they currently sit outside looking in at a playoff spot and will surely get a jolt from this (spark plug/dumpster fire – either or depending on how you see him) returning to the lineup.
Not so great for the rest of the league as now guys are going to be even more aware when 43 hits the ice that all of their affairs are in order and if they have any concerns about being maimed they may want to head on over to the bench for a change.