Less than 24 hours before Game 4 of the Capitals and Penguins’ second-round series—which Washington leads 2-1—the NHL announced that it has suspended Capitals enforcer Tom Wilson three games for his hit on Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese in Game 3, which broke the Pittsburgh player’s jaw and gave him a concussion.
In a nearly five-minute video explaining the decision, the NHL Department of Player Safety said that Wilson’s hit on Aston-Reese “(made) the head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable.” Wilson, who was also suspended twice for two separate illegal hits in the 2017 preseason, is defined as a “repeat offender” by the league, which increases the suspension. Unmentioned in the video is Wilson’s Game 2 hit on Brian Dumoulin, which knocked the Penguins defenseman out of the game but didn’t result in any discipline.
Officials failed to call a penalty on the hit, which is obviously weird for a violation of such severity. But the NHL’s ruling will keep Wilson out until Game 7 of his current series, if it comes to that. My bold prediction is that Capitals fans will find this suspension harsh, and Penguins fans will deem it fair.