Tom Wilson Has Been Suspended 20 Games For His Most Recent Act Of Recklessness, As The NHL's Department Of Player Safety Has Finally Let You Know What They Think Of Him
And there you have it, the Department of Player Safety's actual and definitive opinion on the play of Tom Wilson. Hate or love it, it's no longer muffled by their fear of handing out lengthy suspensions during the postseason. It can no longer be argued against by biased fans of the Capitals or staunch supporters of a style of play that's pretty clearly being phased out of the game. In the eyes of the NHL, a league that isn't shy about trying to make its sport safer, the one guy who has proved to be a clear and present threat to that initiative by continuously breaking faces and leaving bodies laying lifeless in his wake is officially a dangerously dirty player. You can argue semantics all you want, but it's really just as simple as that.
Now, that doesn't mean there wasn't a time when coming full speed on the backcheck and putting your shoulder into the jaw of an opponent who wandered obliviously across the middle of the ice was universally applauded, but it does mean that time is not now. I find it extremely odd that the first handful of hearings didn't teach Tom Wilson that the definition of a predatory hit has drastically changed along with the NHL's stance on head injuries, but he's been given plenty of free time to get educated.
He better do just that if he wants to cash in on anywhere near the entirety of the egregiously large contract that, given his pedestrian production, was over-inflated by the championship he contributed to. He's already been docked over a million dollars before playing even one single meaningful game of said deal, but a suspension of this magnitude has a message attached and that message reads something along the lines of "cut the shit or you'll be cutting a lot more than a check".
Unsurprisingly, the Capitals' Stanley Cup run afforded Tom Wilson a hell of a lot of slack. That much is clear now that the NHL's Department Of Player Safety has given both him and his bank account an unmistakable reminder that he's reached the end of his rope.