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Tom Wilson to have second hearing of the preseason with Department of Player Safety

Tom Wilson to have second hearing of the preseason with Department of Player Safety

Tom Wilson will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Tuesday for boarding the Blues’ Sammy Blais.

It’ll be the second time in less than two weeks that player safety has called a hearing with the rugged Capitals winger.

In the second period of Sunday’s preseason finale—a 4-3 Washington victory at Scottrade Center in St. Louis—Wilson was given a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for hitting Blais from behind.

Although Blais was initially shaken by the hit, he returned to the game after clearing the league’s concussion protocol.


For a typical game on NBC Sports Washington, there at least five views for the department of player safety to review, and sometimes as many as 11. This game, however, wasn’t typical; it was not broadcast in Washington or St. Louis. There is, however, in-arena video of the play.

Although Wilson plays on the edge and has been in the league’s crosshairs for some time now, he’s avoided getting into serious trouble until recently.

On Sept. 23, the 23-year-old was suspended two exhibition games for a late hit on St. Louis’ Robert Thomas. It was the first suspension of Wilson’s career and, more important, it made him repeat offender in the eyes of the NHL. As such, it’s less likely he’ll receive any leniency for the hit on Blais.

After the game, Blues Coach Mike Yeo suggested that it’s perhaps time for the league to come down hard on Wilson.
“It’s a predatory hit with a guy that apparently didn’t learn his lesson from the first suspension,” Yeo told reporters in St. Louis. “So, maybe coming down a little bit harder on him will make him think a little bit more about it. It’s tough going against vulnerable people.”  

Blais also thought the hit was dangerous, saying, “…it was not a good hit. I didn’t see him coming. If I saw him coming I would protect myself.”

After last week’s suspension, Wilson vowed not to change his hard-hitting style of play, adding, “Every time you make a body check, you’re making a split-second decision. I take pride in the physical nature of my game. I take pride in my body checks. This is my fifth season, and I’ve made a lot of body checks — very clean, hard hits. So I trust myself. Maybe it was a second late or whatever, but I’m going to learn from it and I’m going to continue to play my game, my hard-natured hockey.”

That suspension, though, amounted to a cheap lesson for Wilson. Preseason games, of course, do not count in the standings and he did not forfeit any salary since players are not paid until the regular season.

If he’s suspended on Tuesday, though, the consequences will be much more severe. In addition to his paycheck being docked, it’ll leave Washington with a hole to fill up front until he returns. Wilson is also on the team’s top penalty kill forward pair with Lars Eller.

The Caps are leaning toward keeping the maximum of 23 players on the opening night roster, which must be finalized by Tuesday at 5 p.m., so that they’ll have an extra forward in the event Wilson is banned.

The regular season begins Thursday in Ottawa.


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4 reasons the Caps lost to the Islanders


4 reasons the Caps lost to the Islanders

A red-hot Capitals team traveled to Brooklyn where they were handed a 3-1 loss by the New York Islanders. Washington gave up an early goal in the first period and two early goals in the second that ultimately put the game out of reach.

Here is how it happened.

The first 94 seconds of the second period

The Caps trailed 1-0 at the end of the first and seemed fortunate to be down by only one. That luck ran out very quickly in the second period. Andrew Ladd scored just 36 seconds into the period and John Tavares added another just 58 seconds later. A 1-0 deficit turned into a 3-0 deficit in just 94 seconds.

Defensive breakdowns

Braden Holtby was pulled in the second period after giving up three goals, but if is hard to put this loss on Holtby's shoulders. He did not get much help at all from the defense as the Caps were frequently caught out of position by the Islanders. Watch how little movement there is from the players in white on this play.

Josh Bailey found himself in the middle of four Caps players, none challenged him and, even worse, no one covered John Tavares. It was an easy pass for Bailey and an easy goal for Tavares.

No sustained offensive pressure

The Islanders entered the game ranked 29th in goals against per game, yet the Caps could not take advantage. Washington fired 32 shots on goal, but could not create much sustained offensive pressure. There were not many cycles, not many won puck battles in the corners, not many second-chance opportunities, not many opportunities at all. Even the Caps' lone goal came from an end-to-end drive that Dmitry Orlov fired into the net.

Jaroslav Halak

While the Caps did not have many high-quality opportunities, the few they did have Jaroslav Halak was able to turn aside and he made it look easy. Halak has not had a great season, but you would not have known it given the way he played on Monday. He looked very comfortable in net, even when the Caps did manage to pressure him and recorded 31 saves on the night.

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3 stars of the game: Caps' home magic doesn't follow them to Brooklyn


3 stars of the game: Caps' home magic doesn't follow them to Brooklyn

The Caps saw their four-game win streak come to an end on Monday in a 3-1 loss at the hands of the New York Islanders.

Washington found themselves trailing 1-0 less than three minutes into the game. New York jumped out at the start of the second period as well with two goals in 94 seconds to take a 3-0 lead and end Braden Holtby's night.

Dmitry Orlov got Washingtoni on the board in the third period, but it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Andrew Ladd

The Caps did not have a great first period, but still find themselves trailing by only one. Ladd's goal just 36 seconds into the second period was a crucial one as the Islanders really cemented their control. He was a dominant force offensively all game even if it only translated into one point for him on the scoresheet. Ladd recorded a team-high six shots on goal.

2. Jaroslav Halak

What is about the Caps for this guy? Halak has not had a great season by any means, but he looked like vintage Halak in this one. You wouldn't know it from the score or the flow of the game, but the Caps actually had more shots on goal. Halak turned aside 31 of those shots to stifle any comeback hopes for Washington.

3. Philipp Grubauer

When the score was 3-0, Barry Trotz elected to make a goalie change and in stepped Grubauer. It's always a tough task to come into a game cold, but it was an even tougher situation considering that the Caps weren't doing much defensively to help their netminder. Grubauer, however, played exceptionally well.

Even under a frequent barrage from the Islanders, Grubauer stopped all 17 shots he faced keeping it close on the scoreboard even if it did not feel all that close at all.