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Tom Wilson's second suspension will cost him four regular-season games

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USA TODAY Sports

Tom Wilson's second suspension will cost him four regular-season games

Tom Wilson has been suspended four games by the NHL for boarding St. Louis forward Sammy Blais, dealing the Caps a blow before the regular season even started.

It’s the second suspension for Wilson in a short amount of time—and that factored into the Department of Player Safety’s decision on Tuesday afternoon.

Wilson was banned two preseason games last month for a late hit on the Blues’ Robert Thomas.

Then, a little more than a week later, he was called before the league again, this time for the hit on Blais.

In Sunday’s preseason finale, Wilson crunched Blais into the boards from behind.

Wilson was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.

Here’s the video explanation of DoPS's decision:

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In a sign that the Caps expected Wilson to be suspended, the right wing was not assigned to a line in practice on Tuesday. Instead, Alex Chiasson was skating in Wilson's spot with center Lars Eller and left wing Brett Connolly.

Before the suspension was announced, Coach Barry Trotz made the case that the hit wasn’t as bad as it looked.

“I got a chance to look at the hit; I know there’s not a film on that,” Trotz said, referring to the fact that the game was not broadcast in Washington or St. Louis, meaning there were limited camera views of the hit. “Whatever the league decides, they’ll decide and we’ll react to it.”

Trotz added: “I looked at it in slow motion today and it doesn’t look near as bad as maybe I thought. The young player, to me, saw him coming and Tom actually just hits his arm and throws his arm into the glass. It looked a lot worse than if you could get good film on it.”

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Blais was checked for a concussion and returned to the game.

Wilson will miss Thursday’s opener in Ottawa, plus games against Montreal, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. He's eligible to return to the lineup at New Jersey on Oct. 9.

 

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.