The Capitals fell 5-1 to the Boston Bruins on Friday, but the game and the results were hardly the headline following the game. The big story from this game was the controversial hit Tom Wilson delivered to Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo.
“Clearly looked like to me got him right in the head, defenseless player, predatory hit from a player that’s done that before," Boston head coach Bruce Cassiday said.
Late in the first period, Wilson hit Carlo up high along the boards. The angle Wilson approached from was an awkward one as he was back and to the side. Carlo lifted his left arm back just prior to the hit exposing his head. Wilson skated face-first into Carlo's glove and then into his head, hitting it into the boards. Carlo clutched at his head immediately after and fell to the ice. He did not return to the game and Cassidy said he was taken to the hospital.
Wilson did not receive a penalty on the play.
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette described it as "just a hit" after the game.
“I saw the hit," Laviolette said. "[WIlson's] feet were on the ice. He stayed down with everything. It just looked like a hard hit in the corner. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but to me it looked like just a hit.”
Not surprisingly, the Bruins saw things very differently.
"[Carlo's] pressed up against the glass," Jarred Tinordi said. "I think if you’re going in to make a hit like that, you got to let up there. The only thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to hurt the guy.”
“From my view I thought it was a shoulder to the head," Bruin Patrice Bergeron said. "I didn’t see the replay obviously. After talking [to] the refs they think otherwise, they said that they saw in between periods they thought otherwise. So I guess I’ll have to watch it again.”
In the end, how any of the players, coaches or fans saw the hit is ultimately irrelevant. The ultimate decision on whether the hit qualifies as illegal or not will fall on the league and specifically the Department of Player Safety.
Laviolette said after the game that he had received no indication from the league on if it intended to talk to Wilson about the hit.
Wilson has been suspended four times in his career, but he has not received any suspension since the beginning of the 2018-19 season.