Boston Bruins

Dec 23, 2019; Boston, Massachusetts: Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) throws a punch at Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) during the third period at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins know they have their hands full with the big, physical Washington Capitals – especially with winger Tom Wilson, an international incident waiting to happen.

Everyone should brace themselves, because the next Wilson lightning-rod moment is coming.

The only hope, which sadly is now the norm for a Capitals opponent, is that Wilson doesn’t seriously injure anyone. “Wrecking ball” is probably the kindest way to describe Wilson’s playing style. But he’s like a wrecking ball that would demolish a building then leave the space uninhabitable for a while, and make the landowners foot the bill.

Just to get this out of the way: Hockey Is A Violent Gameā„¢. Anyone who calls for the total removal of its physical elements, because of players like Wilson, are asking the sport to sap itself of the intensity and chaos that make it the world’s most consistently thrilling sport. Those people don’t smell like real hockey fans, anyway. Scrums like the now-infamous one between the Capitals and Rangers last week happen in every game and, frankly, should be welcomed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But Wilson’s behavior in that particular melee, as is tradition, fell outside the acceptable range of “hockey plays.” His hair-pull slam against a helmetless Artemi Panarin obviously belonged more in pro wrestling than pro hockey. No jail time or 9-1-1 call needed, but nobody outside D.C. would’ve complained about a suspension.

Now, it’s the Bruins who have to deal with Wilson for a couple weeks. And it would be stunning if things didn’t get out of hand at some point because, well, they already have between these two teams.

MORE: NHL Player Safety didn’t want to suspend Tom Wilson for Brandon Carlo hit

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