Sunday during the Capitals’ final preseason game, bottom-six forward Tom Wilson received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Blues forward Samuel Blais.
Blues head coach Mike Yeo called the hit “predatory.”
“It’s a predatory hit with a guy that apparently didn’t learn his lesson from the first suspension,” Yeo said. “Maybe coming down a little bit harder on him will make him think a little bit about about it. It’s tough going after vulnerable people.”
Because neither of the team’s right-holders televised the game, video of the hit has been unavailable… until now.
Late Monday night, a source sent RMNB the video.
Late in the second period, the Capitals’ third line consisting of Lars Eller, Brett Connolly, and Wilson, looked to create some offense in the Blues zone.
Brett Connolly was the first Capital to cross the blue line and immediately bunted the puck to Eller along the boards. Eller’s initial backhand pass was blocked and his second attempt, on his forehand, got muffed too. Blais gathered in the turnover.
Wilson, who entered the zone with speed and was driving the net, immediately curled back when he noticed Eller’s TO at the halfwall. As Blais cleared the puck, a gliding Wilson checked the unsuspecting Blais in the shoulder, forcing the forward’s head to slam into the glass. Blais dropped to the ice. The Blues’ Brayden Schenn fought Wilson in the immediate aftermath.
Wilson’s intent on the hit was to wrap around the front of Blais, as he’s turned sideways, so that he doesn’t board or injure the player. He failed. The hit was dangerous and unnecessary. Blais was unsuspecting.
Blais would go to the quiet room and go through concussion protocol. He would return to the bench a few minutes into the third period.
After the game, an uninjured Blais spoke to reporters and revealed that he’s “good right now.”
“I didn’t see it, but I think it was not a good hit,” Blais said. “I didn’t see it coming. For sure, if I would have seen it coming, I would have protected myself. I never saw him coming.
“I wanted to do a play. I didn’t see him coming and then I got hit. I’m good right now.”
Monday afternoon, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced they scheduled a hearing with Wilson on Tuesday.
This will be Wilson’s second hearing in two weeks. Last Saturday, Wilson received his first career suspension — a two-game ban — after a late hit on Blues first-round pick Robert Thomas.
Wilson told the media last week that “I’m going to continue to play my game.”
The Caps enforcer has also been fined $2,400 for kneeing Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary during the 2016 postseason and had a hearing for charging Brayden Schenn though he was absolved of any wrongdoing on that play.
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