The Greatest Photos Ever of a Tom Wilson Punch


Photo credit: Geoff Burke

Washington Capitals 2012 first round pick Tom Wilson has made the team’s opening night roster. Wilson was perhaps the most talked-about story at training camp, and George McPhee has traded a proven NHL commodity, Mathieu Perreault, to allow cap space for Wilson.

Wilson had made RMNB headlines throughout camp: his two fights in the rookie game, his big hit against Jets, and his goals against the Bruins and Flyers. But it was his fight with Philadelphia Flyers pugilist Brayden Schenn that was the most memorable.

Geoff Burke of USA Today Sports took some incredible photos of that bout. Embiggen the pics and check them out.


Adam Oates was right: he’s a man child. Don’t make him angry.

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  • nogoodtrying

    Guys are gonna be gunning for this kid all season after that preseason performance. Can’t wait to see how he responds.

  • Clint Petty

    I gotta admit, when I first learned that we had traded away Perry to make cap room for Wilson, I was pretty dumbfounded. And then I remembered thinking that in every postseason appearance the Caps have made in the past 5-6 years, we seemed to be out muscled by whatever team we played, especially matching up against the Bruins. While I do believe Perry is a better overall hockey player, I think Wilson’s (although I know it’s still unproven) physical style of play will be a force to reckon with come the postseason. Other than Ovi, I don’t recall the Caps really throwing their weight around consistently, and generally being outhit by our opponents. Even though I cheered for Perreault to skate under the legs of Chara many times, having Wilson adds a certain “scary” factor to the Capitals organization that I think we lacked. Having a guy like Wilson aggressively forechecking and bruising opponents will serve to get under their skin, draw penalties, and eventually goals from the Ovi spot.

    I wish we had room to keep them both, but Wilson’s physical presence to me makes up for Perry’s possession and skill.

  • You focus on getting big in the postseason and you get skated around– like how Tampa Bay beat the Caps a few years ago.

    The postseason is a lot like the regular season in most ways. It’s just a tiny sample with lots of emotional resonance, so people treat it differently.

  • Clint Petty

    Not saying that the Caps as a whole team should focus on upping the physicality of their play in the postseason, but simply that having some other physical weapons in our arsenal would bring a better balance to the Caps skill focused style.

    I definitely don’t want an army of Simons, Brashears, and Erskines out there.

    Especially with the new division and all. Caps are going to have to perform well in a very quality division just to even make it into the postseason. Let’s just hope the Hawks have that dreaded Stanley Cup hangover and we can start this season off with a W.

  • OlietheGoalie

    What a great picture.

    If Wilson continues to be a battering ram throughout the first half of the season, I’m going to seriously consider getting his sweater. It’ll be my first modern Capital one bought since ’08-’09 when I bought my Kolzig (who is obviously my favorite player based on my handle).

  • Chris

    I don’t recall the last four or five Stanley Cup winner “skating around” their opposition on the way to raising the Cup. I remember the Penguins, Blackhawks, Bruins, Kings and Blackhawks again skating OVER their competition. I’ll take Tom Wilson over Matty P any day.

    We also are not in a cupcake division anymore. Very rarely did you ever see the games between Washington and the Panthers, Thrashers, Lightning or Hurricanes get overly physical or chippy. The Capitals are about to face teams on a regular basis that have been playoff matchups in recent years (Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia) in addition to those games against Boston and a possible old rivalry reignited with the Islanders.

    It will help to have another big man, who can skate with good speed for his size, to throw his body around and drop the gloves when needed. If Matty P isn’t traded and Wilson is sent to Plymouth, who’s that guy now Hendricks is gone? It’s a good move, but shouldn’t have been necessary if GMGM was better at his job because the Erat trade puts them in this situation in the first place.

  • You have seen Tom Wilson play exactly 0 NHL games. You have seen Perreault play 159. If you believe you have a high degree of confidence in Wilson’s play, I believe you are foolish.

    The teams that won the Cup recently were dominant in puck possession, a skill Perreault had a proven record in. Tom Wilson has no such record.

    Maybe Wilson will be awesome. I hope so, but I don’t know. And neither, certainly, do you.

    P.S. The division change will mean so much less than you think. The Caps will play their division partners, the Pittsburgh Penguins, a grand total of ZERO more games than they did two years ago.

    And Matt Hendricks wasn’t a “big body” guy. He is 6’1″.

  • I like physical play, but it shouldn’t be at the top of the list. It’s well behind the things that more obviously inform possession like conditioning and passing and shooting.

    Perreault definitely had passing and shooting. I don’t know if he was in great shape (there’s reason to think he wasn’t.) If Wilson can drive possession, awesome. If he can lay big hits, BONUS!

    I just don’t know yet, and I can’t use the things I don’t know to make a judgment.

  • Matt Lauer

    You’re right to say that none of us know anything about Wilson for sure, but judging from what I saw in the preseason, I’d be willing to say that he will be a respectable puck possession player if paired with reasonably skilled forwards. We will see!

  • Nikki

    Can you give a better way how GMGM could have solved the Salary Cap situation and the current roster and still have Tom Wilson? How about trading Erat instead of MP85? would that be a better decision?

    Btw, didn’t Wilson play in the play offs last year? Wouldn’t that count as an NHL game?

  • DHasek

    I have seen Tom Wilson play 3 NHL games…I’ll take the physicality and the uncertainty.
    Wilson > Hendy
    Latta > MP85

  • Todd N

    People always say ohh why don’t we trade this player or that player instead of the one that got traded…well maybe because no other team want Erat?? i mean it takes 2 teams to complete a trade.. also look at his salary cap at 4 something mil? no one want that cap hit.

  • Rhino40

    This pic demands a gif–like the two-frame animation on a now-defunct fansite devoted solely to Capitals’ fighting majors: it featured Brendan Witt and an annonymous Flyer (I think). Frame 1 was Witt’s fist cocked back ready to strike. Frame 2 was Witt’s arm extended knociking his opponent’s block off…

  • nikki

    I see, well that brings us to my original question…how would have GMGM solved the salary cap and roster situation and still getting Tom Wilson?

  • Todd N

    i’m sure GMGM was shopping Chimera, Ward, Erat, maybe even Laich. in the end the only player that someone wanted was MP85. i don’t think he had much of a choice if he wanted to keep Wilson. personally i’d rather see like you said Erat not because i don’t like him but he’s just making too much for what we get. Laich is another candidate but yeah…he’s been fragile lately and making way too much also…love to see the caps trade Laich for a top 4 Dman