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Tom Wilson avoids suspension but still has work to do when it comes to his reputation

Tom Wilson avoids suspension but still has work to do when it comes to his reputation

Tom Wilson will not have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety, reports Greg Wyshynski of ESPN, meaning he will not be suspended for his hit to Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin in Game 2.

According to Wyshynski, “the department of player safety determined that Wilson's contact with Dumoulin was not considered an illegal check to the head. It felt that contact with the head was unavoidable on the play, and Dumoulin bracing himself for the [Alex] Ovechkin hit materially changed the position of his head prior to Wilson making contact with him.”

You can watch the play in the video above.

Rule 48 which deals with illegal checks to the head makes an exception for hits that are deemed unavoidable. As Dumoulin sees Ovechkin coming, he slows and shifts his body back which puts him in the path of the backchecking Wilson, thus making the hit unavoidable.

"I'm backchecking the puck and he stops," Wilson said after the game. "Obviously it's a big collision. I'm at no point trying to target the head at all. I'm skating, backchecking, trying to do my job and unfortunately, there's a collision there. I've watched it briefly and I don't realize what I can really do any different."

Head coach Barry Trotz was not surprised by the league’s decision not to suspend Wilson.

“The league is a neutral party, they look at it,” Trotz said to the media on Monday. “I know each organization, each fan base will have their own opinions. That's why there's a neutral party in this. Whatever they decided, we were fine with.”

While Wilson will avoid any supplementary discipline, you can be sure the referees will be keeping an eye out for him when he takes the ice in Game 3. Despite that and the fact that Wilson has taken up a top-line role with the Capitals this season, it is undeniable that he is widely perceived outside of the Washington fanbase as little more than a goon.

Wilson may have been utilized as a fourth-line fighter at times in the past. But the Capitals have seen his game evolve well beyond that.

“[Wilson] still plays a real hard game,” teammate Matt Niskanen said. “He's a bull in a china shop and when he gets motoring, boy he's a force. But you can see he's making a conscious effort on his hits to keep his elbows down, stay on his feet. Offensively, his game's come a long ways, but his physical play is, he's trying to walk the line of being a real physical player, but play clean, keeping his elbows down, feet on the ice. I think he's doing a good job and he's playing the game the way he should, the way he needs to to be a really effective player. He's been really good for us and I'm sure that'll continue.”

There’s no question Wilson’s reputation is high within the locker room. Around the league, however, it is a different story.

The challenge for Wilson is to remain a physical force against opponents while working to improve his reputation with the league and establish himself as a responsible player.

It’s a fine line to walk.

“Sometimes those reputations stay with you a little bit and you have to outgrow that a little bit, if you will,” Trotz said. “Takes a little time. I think he's doing a really good job. He studies it, he looks at it, he's trying to get better all the time. It's something he has to battle a little bit.”

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Capitals at Devils: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Capitals at Devils: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

After suffering a tough defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightening, the team with the NHL's best record, on Saturday, the Capitals (42-23-7) look to get back on track on Tuesday against the struggling New Jersey Devils (27-37-9).

Although the Devils have totaled the least amount of points of any team in the Metropolitan Division, they have won two of their last three contests.

The two teams faced off just over a couple weeks ago, when Washington shutout the Devils, 3-0, on March 8. Holtby had 25 saves in the Capitals' victory.

Here's how to tune in to Capitals-Devils on Tuesday. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

CAPITALS AT DEVILS: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils, Game 73 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

When: Tuesday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals at Devils game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (Channel Link)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Devils on NBC Sports Washington’s live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS AT DEVILS TV SCHEDULE

6:30 PM: Caps FaceOff Live
7:00 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:30 PM: Capitals at Lightning Live
10:00 PM: Capitals Postgame Live
10:30 PM: Capitals Overtime Live

CAPITALS AT DEVILS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: N/A
Devils: Egor Yakovlev, upper body: TBD against Capitals. Nick Hischier, upper body: TBD against Capitals. Nathan Bastian, upper body, TBD against Capitals. Pavel Zacha, upper body, TBD against Capitals. Miles Wood, ankle, TBD against Capitals.

CAPITALS AT DEVILS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time meetings: 209 games

All-time series record: Caps lead the all-time series 106-90-13

Last Meeting: March 8, 2010: Caps beat Devils 3-0.

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Capitals sign heralded Virginia native Joe Snively to entry-level contract

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Capitals sign heralded Virginia native Joe Snively to entry-level contract

With a thin core of forward prospects, the Capitals looked locally and announced the signing of Herndon, Virginia native Joe Snively on Monday to a two-year, entry-level contract beginning in the 2019-20 season.

Snively, 23, is an undrafted free agent who played the last four years for Yale in the NCAA. He led the team in all four seasons. He scored 15 goals and 36 points in 33 games in his senior season. His skillset reportedly caught the eye of several other NHL clubs, but he elected to sign with his hometown team.

Snively is an alum of the Washington Little Capitals, the local youth hockey program based at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. He played junior hockey in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers tallying 64 points in 55 games.

“Obviously a unique situation with a local kid, which is phenomenal,” Todd Reirden said. “But it's very competitive to sign those free agents out of college, and we're fortunate to be able to add someone (who's) almost like a free player.”

Snively is not eligible to play with the Caps this season, so do not expect him to suit up in red anytime soon. Washington is at its maximum number of contracts with 50, which is why Snively’s contract is set to start for the 2019-20 season. He could, however, potentially play in Hershey on a tryout agreement.

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