Capitals right wing Tom Wilson has been fined, but not suspended for his knee-on-knee hit on Penguins left wing Conor Sheary in the third period of the Caps’ 4-3 overtime victory Thursday night at Verizon Center.
Wilson was fined $2,403.67 for the hit, the maximum allowable under the CBA.
“I looked at it today,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “Sheary gives a little shimmy and it was really a shin on shin. We leave everything to the league. You’ve got to respect what they do with the Department of Player Safety. It’s not the easiest job, I know that.
“I thought (the hit) was OK, but it wasn’t really necessary probably.”
Penguins right wing and former Capitals teammate Eric Fehr was the recipient of one of Wilson’s six hits in Game 1 and acknowledged his knee-on-knee hit on Sheary was a topic of conversation in the Penguins dressing room. Sheary missed a few shifts but returned to finish the game.
“We’re not going to get into any detail about it,” Fehr said Friday following an optional skate at Kettler. “We’ve just got to play hockey. We’re trying to score goals and make plays and if he’s going to come take runs at us we’ve just got to move pucks by him and try to create odd-man rushes. That’s the best way to make him pay for that.”
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan seemed unfazed by the news that Wilson had been fined and not suspended.
“We’re just going to play,” he said. “The league’s going to do what they do. We’re going to do what we do. We’re gonna play and the refs are going to call the game the way they see it and we’re just going to focus on playing hockey.”
Wilson, 22, delivered six hits in Game 1 and now has 29 hits in seven playoff games, second on the Caps behind Alex Ovechkin’s 35. He also had some animated conversations with the Penguins bench. Trotz said he was actually complimented by the referees in Round 1 for the growth in Wilson’s game.
“Tom is a young player who’s evolved as not only a physical force, but a good penalty killer,” Trotz said. “He’s grown his game. His first mentality as a young guy was to run you right through the boards. I think we’ve refined his game. We don’t want him to hit (from behind) on the numbers and we don’t want him to hit on the head, but clean physical hits are OK.”