Tom Wilson is a unique player in today’s NHL. There are not many players who are as physical or like to throw their body around the ice as much as he does. Ryan Reaves, however, is one such player and he certainly reintroduced himself to Wilson on Tuesday in a Stanley Cup rematch between the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights.

Reaves was ejected from Tuesday’s game after delivering a late hit to the Caps forward. Wilson was knocked to the ice and his head struck the surface violently. He was slow to get up and had to be helped off the ice.

There was no contact with the head on the hit. It was shoulder to shoulder, but it was very late and it caught Wilson completely off guard as he was not facing Reaves.

Reaves was issued a five-minute major for interference which, by rule, comes with an automatic game misconduct when the hit results in an injury and he was subsequently ejected from the game.

Reaves – who Capitals fans will remember for cross-checking John Carlson in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final and scored the game-tying goal because cross-checking suddenly became legal – scored the game’s opening goal on Tuesday.

While Reaves can be a productive player, he really makes his mark by agitating opposing teams with his physical play. He made clear he was targeting Wilson from the first period when he delivered an open-ice check that sent Wilson down to the ice much to the delight of the home crowd.


Not many players are big enough to do that. Wilson got up in search of Reaves, but Alex Ovechkin got there first and delivered a thunderous hit to Reaves along the boards. Finally as play stopped, Wilson caught up with Reaves, but Reaves saw him coming, turned the shoulder and knocked him down again.

Both players exchanged pleasantries before being separated by the linesmen.

Unfortunately, fans were not treated to the heavyweight fight many were hoping for after that moment. Instead, Vegas fans had to watch as Reaves was ejected while Caps fans saw Wilson helped off the ice and are left wondering if one of the team’s hottest offensive players will have to miss any time due to injury.