Photo: Rob Carr
First impressions make a difference. In December of his rookie season, Tom Wilson made himself known to fans of the Philadelphia Flyers with a savage charge on forward Brayden Schenn. Since then, Wilson has been a marked man.
“We don’t want to be liked by them,” Wilson said of the Flyers Tuesday, two days before the Capitals face Philadelphia in Game One the opening round of the playoffs. “Hopefully, we can keep it that way, that they hate our guts.” (more…)
Photo: Amanda Bowen
On Monday, we published a smart and layered discussion by Myan Tran about Tom Wilson‘s development. That article comes after months of discussion among the RMNB staff on the same topic. That article and those discussions all seemed to revolve around the idea of a bust, a delightfully subjective and nebulous term that is also a function of expectations that vary based on whom you ask.
In a beautifully complex world of fractal mathematics and ASOIAF conspiracy theories, a yes/no debate about a divisive player is excessively stupid. The conversation quickly wanders off topic and into a battlefield. GIFs are deployed like explosive ordnance. Proxy wars are waged by strawmen.
But I come to you from above the fray to settle, once and for all, the Tom Wilson bust debate.
Photo: Chris Gordon
Myan Tran is a long-time RMNB reader. She writes from Northern Virginia to settle an argument we’ve been waging among ourselves for months.
A lot has been said about whether Tom Wilson has reached or will ever reach the potential expected of a first-round draft pick. When we start talking about whether Tom Wilson is a “bust” in comparison to his peers, the conversation always turns into “well, what is a bust and who are his peers?” We’ll talk about what a “bust” is later.
First, let’s talk about who Tom’s peers are.
With the Colorado Avalanche fighting for the final spot in the West and the Washington Capitals trying to get Braden Holtby his 47th win of the season, Friday’s late season game took on a furious pace, full of end-to-end action. The energetic play took a scary turn about five minutes into the second period when Tom Wilson unleashed an explosive hit on Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov.
Noted goon Marcus Johansson is at it again — wait, wrong Swede. What I meant to say was: Andre Burakovsky, the team’s player with the most penalty minutes — no, that’s not right either…
Oh. Tom Wilson and Michael Latta, penalty-box regulars, have been doing some very important work at practice recently: teaching their skill forwards how to fight. Playoff hockey is right around the corner, and even though fighting is discouraged, a player has to be ready for anything.
Unfortunately, it does not appear as if the skill forwards wanted to learn.
Graphic by Amanda Bowen
Tuesday, Tom Wilson turned 22 years old. Willy Baby got a million well wishes online by Caps fans but it was three special wishes I want to point you to. They were from Wilson’s roommate Michael Latta (2) and Andre Burakovsky.
Latta called Wilson a lot of things I’m guessing he’s not and Burakovsky brought out the old #brobeans hashtag.
Tom Wilson has played in 224 career NHL games. He has never scored a game-winning goal.
Monday night at Verizon Center, that changed due to some hard work and good luck. 3:46 into the third period, the fourth line forced a turnover in the defensive zone. Daniel Winnik put a shot on net. Wilson and Mike Richards crashed the net. As Richards drew a Blue Jacket’s attention in the crease, Wilson, wide open, backhanded the rebound past Sergei Bobrovski as he fell to his knees.
Capitals forward Tom Wilson is a massive human. The 6’4″, 215-pound checking-line forward is a great skater who uses his speed and power to separate players from pucks and tire out opposing teams with bodychechecks. Wilson ranks 26th in hits per game (3.1). During his three seasons in the NHL, Wilson has had a few notable hits.
Like this hit on Lubomir Visnovsky. Or that time he checked three Blue Jackets at once. Or that time he checked Derrick Pouliot’s hair out of its helmet. Or that time he leveled Christian Ehrhoff twice on the same play.
So what does it look like to stare down one of these beefy Tom Wilson bodychecks? Thanks to NBCSN, we now know: it’s scary.
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