Flyers beat Caps 5-2 After Tom Wilson’s Bad Hit

Schenn - Len Redkoles

Photo: Len Redkoles

All I wanted from this Capitals-Flyers game was a quiet affair, free of histrionics, that ended in a regulation win. After what feels like weeks of the cardiac Caps and their inconceivable comebacks, I need the hockey equivalent of warm milk and a Downton Abbey marathon. Despite my earnest pleadings, I was denied a calm, drama-free night. Instead I got a decent hockey game that devolved into something dumb and violent. And not dumb and violent in a fun, hockey way– where there’s lots of big, clean hits and chirping. No, we got the kind with the post-whistle scrums, the fights that lead to injuries, and the bad hits that lead to injuries and suspensions. Dumb.

In perhaps his most sedate goal yet, Alex Ovechkin put an indifferent backhand past Steve Mason during an early power play in the second period. The Flyers responded immediately– like any true Caps opponent– with a snazzy goal by Jacob Voracek. Then Eric Fehr realized he was wearing his Winter Classic uni and decided to score one of his own, taking a pass from Troy Brouwer below the goal line. Matt Read and company outworked Carlzner and the top line to tie the game again.

Then Tom Wilson put a dirty hit on Brayden Schenn and the Flyers punished the Caps for it. Twice. Wayne Simmonds added to the rout in the third, taking a gimme puck from John Carlson before beating a besieged Braden Holtby.

Flyers beat Caps 5-2.

  • 58 seconds from Ovi’s goal to Voracek’s. Here’s our article about how the Capitals temporarily become the worst team in the league in the 2-3 minutes after scoring a goal. I’d love to hear Oates’ thoughts on this phenomenon.
  • Alex Ovechkin‘s first-period goal puts him at 28 on the year. This one was his least impressive ever. The puck just sorta dribbled away from Mason’s glove and towards Alex’s stick. One casual backhand swing and, voila, that’s how you score. Apparently. I guess.
  • RMNB names Philipp Grubauer 3rd star of the game.
  • Tom Wilson hasn’t put a shot on net since November 17th. That was 34 days ago, back when people still pretended 60 Minutes did journalism. He gets garbage minutes on the ice with middling linemates who haven’t given him a chance to prove himself in the offensive zone. He’s been utterly wasted in DC and he must be frustrated, so let’s keep that in mind as we discuss his dumb-ass hit on Brayden Schenn– you know: the one that fed the Flyers a five-minute power play and two goals. The one that will likely earn Wilson a suspension. Reasonable people may disagree about punishment though. (But perhaps they can do so without calling me a “horrible fan” or an “idiot/commie bastard.”) I think Wilson’s speed and the distance he traveled before hitting Schenn were egregious, and though Schenn making himself vulnerable may reduce the punishment, we’ve seen how the severity of an injury matters more than the intent of the hit. While we’re playing the “how many games will he get?” game, we should try to specify if we’re talking how much we guess Shanahan will give him or how much he ought to get in a perfect world. I think he should be suspended for two games. I think he will be suspended for four.
  • Aaron Volpatti suffered an upper-body injury during his momentum-shifting, game-saving fight in the second period. JK, all that fight did is make this game about violence instead of goals and injure a talented, young player. The Caps do better when they play their own game, not the retrograde style of hockey that George McPhee proclaims to prefer despite his record of acquiring actual skill players. With Volpatti hurt and Wilson awaiting judgement, the Caps were down two forwards for much of this game, unless you factor in that those guys usually get a combined total of 10 minutes a night.
  • Jay Beagle was kind of terrific. Despite being assigned a more reasonable spot on the second line, Beagle got a peak at the top line, sharing the ice with Alex Ovechkin and positively harassing the Flyers net while up there. Beagle led the Caps in possession for most of the night, before ceding it to Martin Erat and his electric second line. On for 5 Caps shot attempts and 11 Flyers attempts.
  • Casey Wellman is not an NHL-caliber player. More like Casey Well-y’know-that’s-just-like-uh-your-opinion-man.
  • Braden Holtby played his first full game in ten days and probably did not enjoy it. Holtby gave up five goals, three at even strength, and was not his usual sterling self. He’ll be back; no need to overreact.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

Okay, that was bad. The Capitals were playing an unspectacular-but-competent game for awhile there, and then they let the Flyers dictate play as it got more violent. Then Tom Wilson took it way too far, and I’m not capable of defending that hit anymore than I already have.

After two stunning games against Philadelphia, the Caps have handed them a big win– both morally and practically. Not a whole lot for the boys to be happy about in this one.

Friday. Raleigh. Semin. Time for some redemption. See you then.

  • Christoffer Salo Salomonsson

    something has to happen with a trade for Erat.. he must have the most “Bad” turnovers in the D-zone in NHL.. he is so bad in the d-zone and almost worse in the O-Zone

  • Jack Conness

    Awful game. Extremely sloppy game from the defense as a whole. I thought Carlson had a rare off-night and I thought Green had ANOTHER off-night.

    I realize Holtby might be a little cold from sitting for awhile but the dude has totally lost his confidence. I don’t want to overreact here but I’m slowly losing my confidence in him. His effort on the poke check on Simmonds (who I can’t stand) was awful. Maybe ride Gruby while he is hot? I don’t know. I know Holtby isn’t getting much help from his defense but something has to change.

    And it does suck to see Wilson not getting solid playing time in the NHL. I wish he could see the ice and be more of an offensive threat but I don’t think we are going to see that anytime soon. My thought on the hit was it looked really bad but if you look a little more closely, it is not as bad as it seems. The other guy turned his head, leaving him vulnerable, with no chance of Wilson to slow up. Yeah, probably a stupid hit and he will probably see a two game suspension.

    The excitement of these comeback wins has finally worn off. Now we see the real team that needs help putting it all together, especially on defense and in the net.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    best possession on the team tonight

  • TowsonTrumpetGuy .

    I’ll address the elephant-is Mike Green DOING anything? Watching him closely in these games I can’t see him doing more than just getting by. It looks like he is more of a spectator than a player, and it seems that when the puck gets near him he prefers to just let it glide by…

  • GuestZ

    When will someone tell Wilson we’re not that kind of team? Emery wasn’t on the ice. What gives…

  • Josh Carey

    Holtby is struggling. It’s not about him having a bad game here or there, he’s starting to string together bad ones and it’s worrying me. Hope he can get back to his usual self soon.

  • Jack Conness

    Agreed. One of his more ugly games of the season. Something has to happen with him.

  • Jack Conness

    I’m happy I’m not the only one who feels that way. I totally agree.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    wah wah wahhhhh

  • Josh Carey

    I didn’t think he was too bad in his own end. He just struggled when he had the puck with a few misplays and puck-over-the-stick type deals.

  • Jack Conness

    I didn’t think Erat looked that bad.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Goalies fluctuate. It’s just part of the game. Unless you *know* he’s hurt or distracted, I’d urge taking the longview.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    The second line was the team’s best for sure.

  • Marky Narc

    Caps got pasted tonight, but at least we don’t have Ray Emery on our roster, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

  • Smarter than Cristoffer

    Have you completely forgot about Mike Green? Or the rest of our d corps? Erat is very good in the d-zone and has been the best possession player on the team a lot this year

  • CapsCast

    Holtby didn’t look great tonight, but it’s hard to look good with the defense making so many mistakes.

  • JenniferH

    Just sad. :(

  • Michael Reschly

    Is there precedent regarding how DoPS applies the ‘no history’ factor to rookies (who have no good history either)

  • Matt

    They were competitive until the Wilson hit. Shows how much he ruined the game.

  • Matt

    I wonder who the youngest player to be suspended is.

  • Bob

    A lot of the blame should fall on Wilson for giving the flyers a spark but Holtby and the defense were embarrassing, as was continuing lack of scoring chances. Doesn’t get any easier with Carolina next who always seems to take it to us

  • Benjamin Scarbro

    New RMNB promotion: Guess how many games Wilson gets suspended!! Win a free tshirt signed by Tom Wilson and his knuckles! My guess is 5 games.

    *Ben Scarbro does not represent RMNB’s promotional team. Nor does he own anything signed by Tom Wilson
    **prices and participation may vary
    ***No purchase necessary
    ****do not partake if pregnant

  • JenniferH

    He’s not struggling. He actually just had a bad game tonight. His last “bad” game wasn’t a bad game. Mike Green had a(nother) bad game and screwed Holtby. Those 3 goals weren’t his fault, it was crappy defense. He couldn’t save those goals, they weren’t soft goals. Two were pretty unsavable and the 3rd was really tough. And he just hasn’t been played. In addition, he was working on some new footwork in the crease in the last batch of games he played.

    Unfortunately, this was his first game back after not playing for 10 days, after Oates has showed such a glaring lack of confidence in him and going against the Flyers after what happened last time. So yeah, he let in some soft goals tonight. But they were not all soft goals.

  • robostop10

    All Wilson should get is the penalty time he was assessed. Emery did worse and got nothing. Case closed. He was trying to get in on the forecheck, get a hit and make an impact. Bad decision and he ll learn from it.

  • EmilyC

    Snap on the 60 Minutes jab!

  • Will Dobud

    Really unimpressed with Erskine as well. He is so slow and break outs were horrendous with him on the ice. I like watching Erat skate and get around the D but I’m waiting for anything…something…to happen and for him to never touch the puck in our end again. Meh. I’m really not happy with our play in the blue lines. We’re never organized.

  • Myan

    Tough game and Wilson’s penalty definitely changed the complexion of the game. Every player has one of those atrocious nights…it’s a rite of passage but it sucks that it was against those assholes.

    On a side note, Holtby looks shaky. He has to at least react on Voracek’s goal…our D man took the pass so Holtby needs to take and prepare for the shot.

  • Roman Z.

    I think there’s a couple of players we could also throw in there: Brouwer ( ok he got an assist today, big woopty-doo!), Wilson, Oleksy

  • Roman Z.

    Why not just run with Grubauer and see where it leads us. Seemed like he was doing just fine the few games he started

  • Pat Magee

    Adam Oates really should be relegated to assistant coach, and we should hire Lavvy as the head honcho. Calle is ruining Mike Green just as much as Oates “fixed” ovi. SERIOUSLY

  • Roman Z.

    I want to see Grubauer starting from now!

  • troyerlaw

    I’m puzzled that Peter/RMNB see it as a black-and-white dirty hit. There are at least two big factors which argue against this conclusion. First, Schenn possessed the puck at the time of the hit, unlike the many hits which occur moments after the player has already dished it away. Second, the hit was from the side, shoulder to shoulder. Yes, you could certainly call the play charging, though I must say that when you read the text of that rule, it leaves a lot of damn gray area. Honestly, Wilson comes in hard on the forecheck, and then with two strides to go, sees that he has Schenn in the crosshairs and accelerates. That’s it. I think Wilson is being condemned and penalized, to some extent, because he is much bigger and stronger than Schenn and because Schenn got injured. A smaller player, making the exact same play, without resulting injury, would likely go unpenalized, let alone suspended. Anyway, maybe I’m a homer. I just see plenty of room for debate on this play. I guess Peter doesn’t.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    For the record, I think he deserved the major. I’m not sure he will be suspended, especially because it’s Tom’s first offense. But it was a dirty hit for the reasons Peter outlines above. He was looking to check him from beyond the circles there. Yes, Schenn made it worse by turning, but when you make a hit like that, it’s your responsibility.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Whatever. We’ll get them next time. The game was turning into a fun little chippy feud fest, then Wilson happened. Game Over.

  • OlietheGoalie

    We’ve needed to do something with him for awhile, but I think GMGM is afraid to break up the “Young Guns” any more.

  • OlietheGoalie

    No. We give Grubby some games here and there. Maybe throw Neuvy in, but Braden is our starter. This game cannot be the only sample size we use – Wilson’s big penalty hurt us. Also, our D, like always, is “lacking”.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Yup. Good D makes good goalies elite. Bad D make good goalies look like crap.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Whatever. We will get them next time. This was turning into a funny little chippy feud fest, then the BIG HIT happened. Game Over, man.

  • Roman Z.

    Ok how about this one: Holtby on a slump, Grubi comes in, we start winning games, Holtby returns, random goals go in, we lose by a landslide. I know that during that time some crazy comebacks happened, but just looking at the goaltending, Grubi just seemed so much more agile and confident in his game. Why not put more chances on our side, instead of stubbornly sticking Holtby there who is obviously having a REALLY bad run.

  • troyerlaw

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say he was looking to check him from beyond the circle. Wilson is already inside the circle when Schenn takes possession of the puck. Commenters on HFBoards keep focusing on the distance 43 traveled before the hit. On the one hand, that’s understandable, since “distance traveled” is written into the charging rule. On the other, much of that distance is traveled on any forecheck. He was racing toward the corner where the puck was. He was going in hard for the forecheck. Just as he entered the left faceoff circle, Schenn took possession of puck, and THAT is when 43 zeroed in on him. Anyway, plenty of room for debate. If I had to guess, he’ll get 2 games. Also, I thought Oates made a good point about the instigator penalty. Where was it? We have been called for it at least twice this year when we did exactly what Grossman did tonight. That would have shaved the 5 min PK down to 3 min PK. Oh well. Oates is right. Calls happen. You still have to kill the penalty. We didn’t. That’s on us. I didn’t think Holtby was at his finest tonight.
    Love your website. Keep up the good work!

  • JenniferH

    I’ll repeat what I said above. Holtby is not having a bad run, let alone a REALLY bad run. Yes, he had a bad game tonight, but his last “bad” game wasn’t actually *his* bad game. Mike Green had a(nother) bad game and screwed Holtby. Those 3 goals weren’t his fault, it was crappy defense. He couldn’t save those goals, they weren’t soft goals. Two were pretty unsavable and the 3rd was really tough. And he just hasn’t been played. In addition, he was working on some new footwork in the crease in the last batch of games he played, thus wasn’t comfortable with that technique yet. but still did pretty good. So it was going to mess with his timing. That is simply going to happen when goalies (or any player has new technique).

    Unfortunately, this was his first game back after not playing for 10 days, after Oates has showed such a glaring lack of confidence in him and going against the Flyers after what happened last time. So yeah, he let in some soft goals tonight. But they were not all soft goals.

    That in NO WAY equals Holtby is obviously having a REALLY bad run.

  • TowsonTrumpetGuy .

    I’m not sure that I would agree with Oleksy, he comes through pretty well but I don’t know what his possession numbers are like…
    Brouwer has been sort of hit or miss this season. Mostly miss.
    I don’t really know what to say about Wilson. I was super excited to see him come on, I’m hoping he just hits a breakthrough game and goes on a tear, because I really do think he has more talent than is being shown with his meager ice time.

  • Red

    Third, Schenn’s distance from the glass was significant enough not to warrant a penalty. However, Wilson hit him so hard that even if Schenn was in the circle, he would’ve still hit the boards. Viciously awesome hit with unfortunate consequences.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I wrote a whole thing about how it’s NOT a black and white play and how much space there is for debate, so I don’t know where you’re coming from http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2013/12/17/crowdsourcing-an-opinion-on-the-tom-wilson-hit/