[UPDATE: The NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Tom Wilson seven games.]
Remember when it felt like you could barely get through a few Capitals games without a debate about a questionable Tom Wilson hit?
It seemed like those debates started to cool down a bit, but hockey fans have had at least two questionable Tom Wilson hits to argue about recently. First, Tom Wilson avoided supplemental discipline for a very late Feb. 25 hit on Mark Jankowski of the Penguins. The latest example came on Friday, as Wilson wasn’t penalized for a hit on Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo.
Update: Following the 5-1 win for the Bruins, coach Bruce Cassidy said that Carlo was hospitalized. It’s unclear if it will be an overnight stay for Carlo.
Cassidy said he didn't know whether Carlo is staying overnight at the hospital. On whether it was a concussion: “You can probably make your own call on that one, considering the hit was directly to his head.”
— Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin) March 6, 2021
Carlo won’t return for Bruins after Tom Wilson hit
The Bruins announced that Carlo won’t return to Friday’s game, as that Wilson hit left him with an upper-body injury. (Granted, a Jakub Vrana cross-check didn’t help.)
Watch that Wilson hit on Carlo in the video above this post’s headline.
Here’s that Wilson hit on Jankowski, for good measure:
As usual, people are debating elements of this Wilson hit. You’ll often hear arguments about things like a) was the hitter charging/leaving their feet and b) was the head the primary point of contact? Among other factors:
Several issues I have with this:
1. Teammate (Vrana) already entangled with Carlo. Needs to see that it’s a vulnerable player and let up
2. Completely misses shoulder and no sudden movement prior to cause that
3. Finishes hit with stick and arms at head height
— NHL Safety Watch (@NHLSafetyWatch) March 6, 2021
During NESN’s intermission coverage, Brad Marchand noted that Carlo was in a vulnerable position, and called the Wilson hit a “cheap shot.”
Early in the second period, Jarred Tinordi fought with Wilson.
If you want a look at Tom Wilson’s suspension history, The Sporting News provides an interesting timeline. Of course, with this player, it’s not just about the hits that draw supplemental discipline. There’s a frequent walking of that fine line, and for many, it’s tiresome to have the debate.
Should Tom Wilson’s hit on Brandon Carlo draw a suspension? If so, for how long?
Either way, it doesn’t seem like Wilson’s going to change the way he plays.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.