Tom Wilson barely even took a week to lay another dirty hit after the last time he made headlines for laying a dirty hit.
Honestly, what else would you expect?
Time and again, Wilson gets away with it. Why? Because hockey lets him.
He gets excused because he’s within the letter of the rulebook. Frank Seravalli of TSN is right: it’s a legal hit that Wilson put on Brandon Carlo. So, the league feels that, once again, Wilson avoids penalty; and very possibly, yet again, avoids supplemental discipline. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it isn’t dirty. Wilson knows what he’s doing when he goes into a corner like that, and all that he learned from being a dirty player who broke the rules early in his career was to be a dirty player and get away with it.
That’s the other point Seravalli raises later in his thread: Wilson is no longer considered a repeat offender, because he hasn’t been suspended since 2018. Seravalli notes that “Wilson has played 166 consecutive games (including playoffs) since then without incident.”
“Without incident” is doing a lot of heavy lifting. There have been regular incidents of Wilson using his body to try to inflict damage on opponents. That someone who once was suspended for 17% of a season can ever escape being labeled a repeat offender is an indictment of the NHL’s system. After Wilson tried to decapitate Oskar Sundqvist, drawing a 20-game suspension that was appealed down to 14, he should’ve been a repeat offender for life. There’s a difference between expunging the record of a guy who gets in a bar fight and a guy who not only regularly gets into bar fights, but slams a guy’s skull into a cinderblock.
It’s not just the league, but the NHLPA that needs to take more of a stand against Wilson and his antics. While he’s a member of the union, and obviously the union needs to ensure that he’s treated fairly, so too do the other members of the union deserve better protection from Wilson, who is a threat to the well-being of anyone who steps on the ice with him.
There should be mutual interest from the NHL and the union on making the game safer by amending disciplinary guidelines, and perhaps getting someone in charge of the Department of Player Safety whose side hustle isn’t literally profiting off of violence in hockey.
Instead, hockey slogs along with a culture where Capitals coach Peter Laviolette defends Wilson’s hit as legal, when the point is that the hit was, as Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy labeled it, “predatory” and sent Carlo to the hospital.
The only consequence that Wilson faced, and the only consequence Wilson is likely to face, is a fight with Trent Frederic, who’s two inches shorter and 17 pounds lighter. For Wilson, that isn’t just a laughable interpretation of “consequence,” it’s just about the nicest thing you could do for him: give him an opportunity to try to damage someone else’s brain.
At least the Bruins did get the best kind of revenge they could manage, routing Washington, 5-1. But that does nothing to solve a problem that’s just going to keep popping up until the league, the union, and hockey culture take a significant step to realize that the problem even is a problem. Best of luck to the Flyers at staying safe on the ice on Sunday night when Wilson comes to Philadelphia, as emboldened and enabled as he’s ever been.
Sleaze purveyor Les Miles was placed on administrative leave by Kansas, which, what a relief for Kansas if it can get out from under Les Miles’ contract, right? Anyway, great job by the university on due diligence when hiring him in the first place. No reason to review that, just conduct an examination of Miles’ conduct at LSU, which, Kansas would like to be very clear, is not Kansas, which never possibly could have reviewed his conduct at LSU before hiring him, just like the Mets with Jared Porter.
Sixteen years after the publication of Juiced, and 13 years since writing Vindicated, Jose Canseco decided Friday night was the time to spill the rest of the beans on Mark McGwire.
At least we’ll still be able to remember those Oakland Nights.
Vaccines are getting into more arms, baseball parks are outdoors… fine, this isn’t worth screaming about as much as hockey and basketball, even if it’s not a great idea and you’re still going to have maskless idiots in a lot of places, and distancing is a neat concept that kind of falls apart when people are at concession stands, restrooms, and entering and leaving buildings.
But… no Dinger?
That kind of gives up the game, doesn’t it? It’s not really safe enough to have a mascot, but it is safe enough to take the money of as many people as the state will allow to enter the building for the privilege of watching 2021 Rockies baseball, which is a privilege the same way that Tom Wilson getting into a fight is a consequence. (Ed. note: That’s called bringing it back around, and that’s how you do it — Rich O.)