After offering an in-person hearing (via Zoom) on Saturday morning, the NHL Department of Player Safety has hit Tom Wilson with a seven-game suspension for his boarding of Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo.
The NHL Department of Player Safety, which has now suspended Wilson five times in his NHL career, cited the boarding, Carlo’s injury sustained on the play, and Wilson’s aforementioned history as reasons for the ban.
“Through no fault of his own, [Carlo] is in a position where he is unable to brace for contact, anticipate the hit, or protect himself in any way from Wilson, who is approaching from outside his field of vision,” the NHL Department of Player Safety’s video explanation noted. “While there are aspects of this hit that may skirt between the line between suspendible and not suspendible, it is the totality of the circumstances that cause this play to merit supplemental discipline.
“What separates this hit from others is the direct and significant contact to a defenseless player’s face and head, causing a violent impact with the glass. This is a player with a substantial disciplinary record taking advantage of an opponent who is in a defenseless position and doing so with significant force.”
In other words, the NHL wasn’t looking at this as Wilson being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They essentially saw enough on the replays to assume that Wilson had intent on his mind to make their ruling. This is certainly in line with how the play transpired, too, with Wilson getting into a heated exchange with Trent Frederic at the other end of the ice just moments before he came flying in for his TKO on Carlo.
The NHL’s explanation is also similar to what the Bruins said following Friday’s contest.
“Defenseless player, predatory hit from a player that’s done that before,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We felt that was completely unnecessary, dirty.”
“[Carlo] was in a bad spot and, you know, [Wilson] took advantage of it,” said Brad Marchand.
Wilson, who can appeal the suspension, will also forfeit over $300,000 in salary as part of the suspension.
The Bruins and Capitals have four more head-to-heads in 2021, and will meet again on Apr. 8 in Washington.