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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.

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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.

MORE CAPITALS: WAS TOM WILSON'S HIT ON SAMMY BLAIS 'PREDATOR?'

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

MORE CAPITALS: KEMPNY EXCITED TO MOVE FROM LAST PLACE CHICAGO TO FIRST PLACE WASHINGTON

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came only 2:30 into the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby.

On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life.

The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.