The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Saturday morning that Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been offered an in-person hearing for ‘boarding’ Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo in the waning minutes of the Bruins’ 5-1 win over the Caps Friday night.
Washington’s Tom Wilson has been offered an in-person hearing via Zoom for Boarding Boston’s Brandon Carlo. Date and time TBD.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) March 6, 2021
By offering an in-person hearing, the league now reserves the right to suspend Tom Wilson give games or more. Wilson’s last suspension came after the preseason finale for the Capitals and St. Louis Blues in September 2018 for a high hit on Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. The league came down heavy on Tom Wilson then, nailing him with a 20-game suspension, but after he served 16 games, it was reduced to 14 games and he was able to recoup wages lost for two games. At the time that was Wilson’s fourth suspension in 105 games so he was considered a repeat offender but he has since shed that label as he’s gone 166 games without a significant incident.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, and specifically winger Mark Jankowski, may disagree with that after a Wilson late hit on him on Feb. 25.
The hit on Carlo was not called on the ice and as TSN Insider Frank Seravalli pointed out, the fact that it is being termed ‘boarding’ by the Department of Player Safety means this will not be a hearing to determine if Rule 48 (illegal hit to the head) was broken. Tom Wilson will likely become the first player suspended for ‘boarding’.
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy described the hit as predatory.
“Well listen, it’s a fast game; they play hard, we play hard,” Cassidy said after the game Friday night. “But I mean you can see it, he clearly hit him in the head. Brandon’s in an ambulance; goes to a hospital obviously from that hit. It clearly looked like to me he got him right in the head. It’s a defenseless player and predatory hit from a player that’s done that before.”
Cassidy, like many who watched the hit, could not understand why there was no penalty on the ice.
“So, I don’t understand why there wasn’t a penalty called on the ice,” a flabbergasted Cassidy said. “They huddled up but I did not get an explanation why but it’s out of our hands after that, we just gotta play hockey after that and try and stick together as a team and play the right way. Sometimes when that stuff happens and there’s no call, the players kind of settle it on the ice in their own way. We felt that we pushed back and did what we could do and won the hockey game and tried to let that particular player know that that was unnecessary. That’s how we handled it and like I said, I assume it will get looked at by the National Hockey League and they’ll make their decision.”