Boston Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the New York Rangers during the first period at Capital One Arena on February 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Capitals forward Tom Wilson’s high hit on Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo could cost him, and in a major way, with the NHL Department of Player Safety offering Wilson an in-person hearing for the incident.

(The ‘in-person’ element of the meeting is in name only, as it will be conducted via Zoom, and at a date and time to be determined, according to the league’s disciplinary office.)

But the ‘in-person’ aspect is telling in the sense that it does open the door for the league to hit Wilson with a significant suspension, as in-person hearings mean that the NHL can suspend a player for more than five games.

Wilson, of course, has a history. His last suspension back in 2018 was for a whopping 20 games (though it was eventually reduced down to 14), and his NHL rap sheet includes four suspensions in total.

The Bruins are certainly aware of Wilson’s history, too.

“Clearly looked like he got him right in the head. Defenseless player, predatory hit from a player that’s done that before,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after Friday’s win. “We’re upset. Brandon’s a very popular guy in the room. And we felt that was completely unnecessary, dirty.”

“I’ve been guilty of it in the past; guy’s in a bad position and you take a cheap shot, but it is something that you don’t want to see happen,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand, a player with a rap sheet of his own, offered. “That’s what that was: [Carlo] was in a bad spot and, you know, [Wilson] took advantage of it.”

The Capitals, however, saw things differently.

“I mean, his feet were on the ice, he stayed down with everything,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “Just looked like a hard hit in the corner. But I’m not sure what happened. To me it looked like just a hit.”

Carlo, meanwhile, spent the night in hospital but was released on Saturday morning and is resting at home.