Tom Wilson Went From Being The Bad Boy To Playing The Victim, And All It Took Was One Hit From Behind By Anton Stralman
Before I delve into the double-dealing of the most crooked cop to ever bear the badge of dishonor as a self-titled member of the player safety police force, let me just state the obvious by saying that Anton Stralman's hit was dirty. He left his feet to deliver it into numbers that were staring him in the face for nearly as long as the extra credit question on a calculus exam. Combine that with the fact that there is reason to believe there was a motive (below), and - while I hardly feel bad for the person on the ass end of it - I wouldn't have a problem with a hearing being held for the Tampa Bay defenseman.
It's just that the last person I need telling me what does or doesn't constitute prim and proper physical play is the dude that still maintains his innocence after capturing the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' of the extremely rare three-game suspension during the playoffs. The guy who laughed off a check that reconstructed a face and would have sent him soaring into the stands if not for the protective glass behind NHL benches doesn't exactly have resume I look for out of my athletic ambassadors for good, clean competition.
Let's put it this way, Tom Wilson declaring that he "100 percent" would have been suspended for that same hit is about as disingenuous as just about every word that comes out of Gary Bettman's mouth regarding the long-term effects of concussions. In that particular circumstance, he's probably right, but if we are speaking historically, as opposed to hypothetically, then that's just a flat out falsehood. I know this because I have seen Tom Wilson both throw an eerily similar hit and skate away from it free of discipline despite it causing a a hell of a lot more harm than a suspiciously unnoticeable "goose-egg"...
I could find other instances in which the Capitals' forward somehow survived the consequences of his countless kamikaze missions, but the truth is that it's so easy to prove the most long-winded "woe is me" hypocritical that I refuse to even venture to the search bar since I'm pretty sure we are all being trolled. I mean, he jumped up to that moral high ground so quickly that you'd think that there a defenseless defenseman awaiting him up there. He grabbed the rare opportunity to temporarily adopt ethics and skated so far and so fast with it that you'd think he was getting ready to lunge uncontrollably into the head of his prey with his next predatory hit.
In the weirdest of ways, I actually respect the lack of self awareness from someone I have absolutely no respect for otherwise. For, if the alternative is once again choking back the taste of vomit while listening to Tom Wilson's two-faced take on player safety, I'd gladly welcome the suspension of a player as important to the Lightning's success as Anton Stralman. I'm pretty sure earning the Capitals a competitive advantage was his priority in ignoring the entirety of his playing career to shamelessly cry for consistency, since it's definitely never been the health of anyone but himself. As sick as it makes me to say, he does make a slight semblance of a point and potentially increasing his team's chances of winning is well worth the cost of whatever sliver of sincerity could have still been taken from either his words or his actions.