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Is Tom Wilson Just Wired Wrong?

**Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**

The call didn’t come.

Should it have? Probably.

But Tom Wilson’s phone never rang Saturday after it was determined his hit from behind on New Jersey’s Brett Seney Friday was not going to be subject to supplementary discipline from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Which means No. 43 will be on the ice Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena when the Washington Capitals face the Golden Knights. Unless, of course, he pulls a cement-head move Sunday against Anaheim and the league decides it needs to do something.

Wilson, who must have some of Raffi Torres’ DNA, took a run at Seney and hit him from behind late in the second period of the Capitals’ 6-3 win over the Devils. Seney obviously never saw Wilson coming and Wilson was given a match penalty and ejected.

Immediately, the hockey world called for major sanctions against Wilson, who only recently returned from a league-imposed 20-game suspension from the preseason when he KO’d St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist. Wilson appealed and, eventually, an arbitrator reduced the 20-game ban to 14.

It was more kind of back of my shoulder. I don’t know if he was intending to do it or what. I haven’t had the chance to look at it yet. -Brett Seney

Seney was OK and he eventually returned to Friday’s game. But given Wilson’s rap sheet, it was assumed the DoPS would lower the boom on him.

Wilson has been suspended on four occasions by the NHL:

  •  September 22, 2017
    • In a preseason game against St. Louis, Wilson caught Robert Thomas with a late hit, resulting in a two preseason game suspensions
  • October 1, 2017
    • The NHL suspended Wilson for the first four games of the regular season for boarding Blues rookie forward Sammy Blais during each team’s 2017 preseason finale.
  • May 2, 2018
    • Wilson was suspended from three playoff games due to an illegal check to the head of Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese, who sustained a concussion and a broken jaw in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
  • October 3, 2018
    • Wilson was given his largest suspension to date —20 regular season games — after an illegal hit to the head hit on Sundqvist during a preseason game.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

And that doesn’t include all the cheap shots over the years that didn’t get Wilson suspended. Golden Knights fans aren’t going to forget the run Wilson took at Jonathan Marchessault in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final last June. There was no real payback during the rest of the Final because the Knights couldn’t afford to lose a player. And there was no retribution on Oct. 10 when the teams met for the first time since June 6 as Wilson did not play.

But will there be something Tuesday? My gut tells me no. Even though Ryan Reeves, Will Carrier, Deryk Engelland, and Brayden McNabb could all take care of Wilson if they chose to. However, if, as Reaves so accurately put it after Game 1, “That’s Wilson being Wilson” and he pulls yet another stunt similar to the one on Marchessault or Friday’s on Seney, Gerard Gallant won’t have to say a word. The players will administer their own justice.

But let’s go back to the play Friday in D.C., and where I have a problem with the league’s lack of action. Seney was in a vulnerable position. His back was to Wilson. He had no idea he was about to get leveled.

Wilson, however, could have avoided making contact with Seney. Just like he could have avoided Marchessault and others he has run at over the years. The fact he chose not to and given his disciplinary history, the league should have sent a stronger message.

Sorry, his history does matter. If, say, Niklas Backstrom had delivered the same exact hit on Seney, he would have still gotten an interference penalty and maybe, maybe, the ref would have made it a five-minute major.

But the refs know Wilson and they know his history. I guarantee you every officiating crew that works a Washington game talks among themselves about Wilson when they go over the lineups. And they do so in an attempt to be proactive and make sure they maintain control over what happens on the ice.

However, once Wilson activities his body at an opponent and makes his contact, there’s not much the guys in stripes can do about it. They can only react to the play and apply the rules the best they can. Thus, he got the 10-minute match penalty and ejection that came with it.

But that’s where the justice apparently ends.

The problem is, the Players Association would have fought any suspension, especially had it been a lengthy one. They went to bat for Wilson for a far worse transgression on Sundqvist.

And, to be fair, Wilson’s hit, while bad, wasn’t aimed at Seney’s head. It wasn’t like the Aston-Reese hit. Had he deliberately hit Seney in the head, there’s no doubt he’d be heading to New York for a sit-down with DoPS chief George Parros and commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHLPA be damned.

Still, the NHL simply can’t condone these kinds of incidents. It’s bad for the game. It hurts its credibility. It cheapens everything hockey is supposed to stand for.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

You know what’s sad? Tom Wilson actually has some skill. He can shoot. He can put the puck in the net. When he’s flying right, the Capitals are a much better team.

I’m no psychologist. I don’t know why Wilson feels compelled to run at guys the way he does. But here’s what I do know — should Wilson take any liberties with the guys in the steel grey jerseys Tuesday night, he’ll have more than the Department of Player Safety to worry about.

**Steve Carp is the author of “Vegas Born — The remarkable story of the Golden Knights.” Follow him on Twitter @stevecarp56. All of Steve Carp’s work here on SinBin.vegas is presented to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm. For over twenty-five years, the Jimmerson Law Firm has been widely recognized as one of Las Vegas’s preeminent full-service law firms. Specializing in high stakes business, civil and family litigation, the Jimmerson Law Firm has an unparalleled track record of winning when it matters most. To reach the Jimmerson Law Firm, call (702) 388-7171 and tell them SinBin.vegas sent you.**

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16 Comments

  1. Keith Magnuson

    Seney did a great job “selling” the hit as well.

    Wilson will be Wilson and it’s only a matter of time before he does serious damage to somebody though.

  2. Rick Hixenbaugh

    Dude…you are so full of crap that your eyes are (probably) brown ! You shouldn’t opine on things that you obviously have no real insight into. Your characterizations of Tom Wilson and his game are laughable ! Has Wilson made some bad choices on the ice…Yes…but mostly, he is only guilty of being a very fast skating 6’ 4” and 220 lbs ! I don’t feel the need to refute every example you cite…although I could pose a legitimate alternate case for most of them. However…In this latest instance of “(Fill in the Blank) Minutes for Being Named Tom Wilson”….the “hit” in question wasn’t even a Hit ! Wilson was focused on his opposing D-man and the puck in the corner. Seney was moving backward…in no perceivable direction…like a kite with no tail. Wilson, to his credit, tried to avoid contact with Seney in his pursuit of the puck. What contact there is was incidental. It is highly debatable whether ANY punishable infraction occurred on the play at all ! You “forgot” to mention that Seney returned to the ice after a short absence. Stop basing your commentary on slow motion video; look at the play in full speed ! Hockey is still a contact sport. Tom Wilson is still a big..strong…fast moving player. Simple fact: Most contacts involving Wilson will not go well for one of the parties; quite often it’s “the other guy”. One thing you did get right is that Wilson is a skilled player. I look forward to him Lighting The Lamp on Tuesday.

    • the HOCKEY GOD

      seney was moving backwards >>>look at video , anyone with a brain can see he clearly stopped going backwards, and Wilson clearly clipped him from behind. A cheap hit, by a cheap player, who is a GOON. Deal with it, or seek therapy because your brains isn’t functioning in the right direction (brain deceives what eye is “processing” . https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/1068680785178185728 P.S I bet you voted for Hillary too. Putz.

      • Rick Hixenbaugh

        Nice….a Troll with as much guts as intelligence (that would be none).
        What a shame that this forum for comment and discussion did not filter a wussie like you. Set up a Go Fund Me and I’ll contribute for the surgery to try and reverse your Cranium Rectal Insertion.

        • THE ALL TIME HOCKE GOD replies

          You, as wall as Tom Wilson, are cowards, cheap hit artists, with more suspensions by the league coming. Your lying post is the one that needs to be scrubbed for the truth.

          Why do you supported demented players, who repeated get fined and suspended by the league? For breaking the rules, repeatedly ?

          hint: because you are demented yourself, and don’t like following the rules ?

          why don’t you like free speech ?
          hint: because it calls out liars like yourself, and you probably hate America too because FREE SPEECH is allowed.

          I see it’s time for your next therapy session, get to it Rick.

  3. RB

    Great article about a dirty a player who continues to take cheap shots at others. The comment section got a bit out of hand pretty quickly…

    Anyway, I 100% agree with you, the league should have done more. I think Wilson’s history speaks for itself, and warranted at least a hearing. I sincerely hope he doesn’t hurt someone before the league does anything else. Player like Wilson are an embarrassment to the sport of hockey.

    Hard hitting has always been a part of the game and will always be. However, the more we learn about head injuries the more obvious it is that these types of hits and the players that commit them have no place in this or any game.

    I hope the league will do its part and keeps this type of activity in check and that we do not see any serious injuries caused by their lack of action.

  4. Rick Hixenbaugh

    If anyone is a coward; it is you…Troll. Hiding behind a fictitious name…and declaring yourself a god of a game that you cannot correctly spell ! I take much joy in the fact that you have been baited to quickly expose yourself as the flaccid, useless tool that you are. Take a look; the mirror does not lie. No self respecting woman would want you. Rosie DePalma is your only amoureux. Not surprisingly…you have shown a less than rudimentary understanding of The Game. Maybe if play was limited to using a controller and thumbs ? I know your kind. You think that free speech is….Free. You believe that everyone SHOULD get a trophy. You’re the kind who disagrees only with anonymity. In other words…you are spineless…like a Jellyfish. Hey…that will be your new moniker. From now on…everyone who reads this will refer to you by your new name…JELLYFISH !
    You’re Welcome !

    • the real HOCKEY GOD

      Rick, get a life, you really don’t understand how the internet or free speech works, lying troll that you are.

      Tom Wilson = coward, goon, suspended many times for breaking the rules.

      That is what you stand for ?

      Pathetic loser.

      PS RR is going to eat TW’s lunch, spit it out , and eat it again.
      Then you will be left with the LEFTOVERS.

    • Vgk4life

      Tom Wilson is a cheap shot punk regardless of what team he plays for. He refuses to fight Reaves after the beat down he received years ago, but will run around and blind hit a bunch of little guys and European players. Typical punk.

  5. Rick Hixenbaugh

    If anyone is a coward; it is you.. Hiding behind a fictitious name…and declaring yourself a god of a game that you cannot correctly spell ! I take much joy in the fact that you have been baited to quickly expose yourself as the flaccid, useless tool that you are. Take a look; the mirror does not lie. No self respecting woman would want you. Rosie DePalma is your only amoureux. Not surprisingly…you have shown a less than rudimentary understanding of The Game. Maybe if play was limited to using a controller and thumbs ? I know your kind. You think that free speech is….Free. You believe that everyone SHOULD get a trophy. You’re the kind who disagrees only with anonymity. In other words…you are spineless…like a Jellyfish. Hey…that will be your new moniker. From now on…everyone who reads this will refer to you by your new name…JELLYFISH !
    You’re Welcome !

    • RB

      I really wish I could flag both of you. Hockey is supposed to be fun, people are allowed to disagree. Get over it and move on. Much like Wilson’s repeated offenses there is no place for this kind of crap! You don’t agree with each, we get it…

    • the HOCKEY GOD

      The HOCKEY GOD , is spelled correctly.

      What planet are you from ?

      You know nothing about me.

      I have forgotten more about HOCKEY than you will ever know.

      I have seen the likes of DIRTY GOON players like WILSON long

      before you were even BORN. Standing up for their goonish behavior is

      for those with sick and perverted minds.

      Seek therapy, you know nothing about GOONs, HOCKEY, FREE SPEECH, and
      btw I bet you still skate with a walker in front of you and double bladed skates !

      Here is a free coupon for you at the City National Ice Arena, you need some REAL staking lessons. (watch out for the ruts in the ice, and don’t forget to wear your mouth guard, you don’t want to lose that one remaining front tooth)

      http://www.tmz.com/photos/2010/02/15/2485-guess-the-grill/images/2010/02/15/63505-celebrity-grill-gold-teeth-01-0010-layer-16-full-jpg

      You are a 2 yo with ADD.

  6. Rick Hixenbaugh

    Jellyfish…..

    “THE ALL TIME HOCKE GOD replies”……Still think everything is spelled correctly ? What a douche you are ! I do believe you when you say, “I’ve forgotten”….apparently everything you learned since Elementary School.
    I’ve grown tired of this Battle of Wits…not the Battle itself mind you…just that it has been so one-sided (much like the 4-1 beat-down Tom Wilson and the Capitals administered to your Golden Knights 6 months ago). Sadly, my opponent (that would be you Jellyfish) entered unarmed. So rather than lower myself to your level (a steep drop indeed) this will be the final time I grace you with my presence . Thankfully…when I wake up tomorrow…it will be with a very healthy bank account and the flexibility to enjoy life as I see fit. You, Jellyfish…will wake up alone…wondering when you will hear someone address you as, “Hey Jellyfish !” I’m OUT

    • I didn’t realize this was a high school spelling class in here…picking on someone’s spelling/grammar contained in an online post is probably the most gutless thing anyone can do online. It’s just an easy target and a way to avoid having a real conversation with facts. Go back to your lame Capitals message board and pick on some of those retards for their spelling.
      You’re like a four year old …“I’ll Wake up with a healthy bank account”. That’s just the most idiotic thing I’ve read on this site ever and believe me I’ve read a lot on here. Go away.

    • the HOCKEY GOD

      Rick Hixenbaugh appears to have gotten the wrong end of the hockey stick stuck up his KEYSTER. Now he’s trying to delicately extract it. Yet as you can see more drivel is coming out , the spittle is so bad it completely covers his monitor and regulates his posts to incoherent ramblings.

      A sign of sick mind, or someone who stands up for GOONS who repeatedly break the rules. He has no clue as to what “OBEY THE LAW” means. Typical member of low IQ cult that is plaguing much of America today.

  7. Vgk4life

    Tom Wilson is a frat boy punk who wouldn’t play the way he does if he were playing 15 years ago. He would’ve gotten knocked right out the NHL with his bush league cheap shots.

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