Given all of the late hits that have happened around the NHL over the past couple of weeks that did not result in a disciplinary hearing, it was easy to think Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman was going to avoid any supplemental discipline for his hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy on Saturday night.
But this one may have been too late to ignore.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Sunday that Hyman will have a disciplinary hearing for interference.
Hyman was ejected from the game for the hit, while McAvoy, who just recently returned to the lineup, was injured as a result.
All were clearly late hits that were initiated long after their opponents had moved the puck.
While Reaves and Wilson were ejected for their hits, they did not rise to the level of supplemental discipline because they did not target the head or result in significant head contact. That is usually the line the NHL draws for late hits unless it is an egregiously late hit. This one did not appear to contact the head, but it was definitely late and sent McAvoy dangerously into the boards.
None of these hits are acceptable or examples of good clean hockey. They are not even examples of a player “finishing their check.” They are reckless hits on players that are not eligible to be hit, and in some cases are resulting in injuries. If those types of hits continue the NHL will have to start doing more than just ejecting and penalizing the players that distribute them.
(UPDATE: Reaves will not receive any supplemental discipline from the NHL.)
Yes, you read that right.
Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves did his best Tom Wilson impression in front of the man himself against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. And the result was much the same.
Reaves drilled Wilson as Wilson was looking the other way following a pass attempt. The hit from Reaves sent Wilson’s helmet flying in the air. Wilson hit the ice hard and appeared to hit his head on the way down.
Reaves was assessed a five-minute major for interference and handed a game misconduct on top of it. He’s also likely going to be hearing from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety over the next couple of days.
Wilson needed to be helped off and was ruled out for the rest of the game with an upper-body injury.
Wilson was involved in a controversial hit last week after he laid a blindside hit of his own on New Jersey Devils forward Brett Seney. Wilson was ejected from the game but was not subject to further discipline.
Wilson has been suspended four times in the past 15 months.
Reaves and Wilson already had a thing going in the game.
In the clip below, Reaves steps into the path of an oncoming Wilson and then proceeds to laugh in his face, this after drilling Wilson seconds earlier.
Tom Wilson and Ryan Reaves are exchanging words. Vegas is the town for big fights! Will we get a real heavy-weight bout tonight?
The debate over the next day or so is going to be intense.
Did Washington Capitals forward (and resident bad boy) Tom Wilson deliver another dirty hit on a fellow NHLer? And if so, how does the NHL’s Department of Player Safety navigate that minefield?
Wilson was tossed from Friday’s game against the New Jersey Devils after clipping forward Brett Seney, who had just been stopped on a break and had retrieved the rebound, dumping the puck back deep into the Capitals’ zone. With Seney’s back turned, Wilson delivered the glancing blow.
To where? That’s what will need to be looked at over the next 24 hours.
Here’s the hit:
Officially, Wilson was given a five-minute major for an illegal check to the head and a game misconduct. There are several angles of the hit that can be seen. Some look like he caught shoulder, others look like the head was the principle point of contact.
His first suspension came last year in the preseason when he was suspended two preseason games for interference on St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas. While Wilson had carried a reputation for being a physical player that played right on the edge, he had, to that point in his career, only been fined by the NHL so he only missed two preseason games. A very minor and meaningless slap on the wrist.
But in his first game back from that two-game suspension, he boarded St. Louis’ Samuel Blias, which resulted in the punishment instantly being cranked up to a four-game regular season ban.
After going through the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs without another play that reached the level of supplemental discipline, he was given a three-game postseason ban (probably comparable to a six-game regular season suspension) for a hit to the head of Zach Aston-Reese, knocking him out of the playoffs.
A couple things of note on the latest hit: the hit was avoidable, which the DoPS pointed out in the video explanation for Wilson’s 20-game suspension, also stating that he took a poor angle of approach, which seems to be the case again. It’s a blindside hit.
You don’t need the reminder, but Wilson is a repeat offender.
“The hitting aspect of the game is definitely changing a little bit, and I’ve got to be smart out there and I’ve got to play within the rules,” Wilson told the Washington Post during his latest suspension. “And at the end of the day, no one wants to be in the situation that I’m in right now. I’ve got to change something because obviously it’s not good to be out and not helping your team.”
Everything had been going swimmingly for Wilson since returning from his latest suspension. His sixth goal during a five-game goal-scoring streak came prior to his ejection.
Wilson has seven goals and 13 points in nine games and appeared to be keeping his nose clean.
For what it’s worth, Seney was able to return to the game.
Following the game, Seney told reporters that he wasn’t totally sure where the hit caught him.
Brett Seney said Tom Wilson’s hit got him in the shoulder and possibly in the back of the head. Happened fast enough where he wasn’t positive. He went through the concussion protocol and cleared before returning.
Capitals coach Todd Reirden weighed in after the game.
Reirden was incensed on the bench when Wilson got the boot and appears he was still fuming after the game.
Reirden: "[Wilson] isn't even intending to make a hit. It's incidental contact, and he is following his defenseman down the wall, the player backs into him, he tries to get out of the way of the player, makes himself as small as possible, and there's incidental contact."