Boston Bruins

Mar 5, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals coach Peter Laviolette reacts during the third period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a time and place to defend the sanctity of violence in the game of hockey. Tom Wilson’s hit on Brandon Carlo is not one of those times.

But that’s the road that Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette decided to travel after his team lost to the Bruins on Friday. Wilson’s hit, which resulted in Carlo going to a local hospital after leaving the game, unfortunately marred what was a couple of entertaining and competitive games. Wilson received a seven-game suspension for the hit, which Bruce Cassidy described as “predatory.” The good news is Carlo has already been released from the hospital.

But for whatever reason, Laviolette continued to shrug the hit off as just another hockey play. It’s one thing to get it wrong before having a chance to review the tape, but Laviolette bizarrely doubled down when speaking to reporters on Saturday.

“I mean, to me, it was a hockey hit,” Laviolette said (via Samantha Pell). “If this is a suspendable play then all hitting really is going to probably have to be removed because he didn’t take any strides, he didn’t target the head, a player was up against the boards, he was upright and Tom hit him hard. I hope the player’s OK, but, for me, the call I think was correct on the ice last night.

“This hit happens so many times through the course of the game where somebody hits somebody against the boards and so I think we’re still hopeful that Tom will be available to us [next game].”

Has Laviolette lost it?

Wilson’s hit on Carlo may not have been as blatant as other incidents in his career, but it’s just the latest example of his recklessness and why he’s unnecessarily dangerous to opponents. He literally put Carlo in the hospital. At the very least, he gave Carlo a concussion. He followed through directly to the head of a 6-foot-5 player. It’s exactly the kind of hit that should never happen in the league. No one should dust off their soapboxes for this particular play, or this particular player.

Laviolette didn’t have to throw his own guy under the bus. But there was no need to excuse the hit, either. Next time he should just hit us with the ol’ “Ask Player Safety about that one.” Because the take that actually spilled out of his mouth was asinine.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at