Tom Wilson has been suspended seven games for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, the Department of Player Safety announced Saturday. That suspension will start with Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers and last through March 19. The next game he will be eligible to play is March 20 against the New York Rangers.
Wilson will forfeit $311,781.61 due to the suspension and based on his salary which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The DoPS released a video explaining the decision.
According to the video, it was deemed Carlo was in a defenseless position when he was hit by Wilson.
"With the puck bouncing at Carlos' skates as he attempts to locate it, Wilson approaches from outside his field of vision and delivers a high, hard hit that makes direct contact with Carlo's head driving it violently into the glass and causing an injury," the video states.
Carlo's position, the hit to the head and Wilson's past history of supplemental discipline all contributed to the decision.
"While there are aspects of this hit that may skirt the line between suspendable and not suspendable, it is the totality of the circumstances that cause this play to merit supplemental discipline," the video states. "What separates this hit from others is the direct and significant contact to a defenseless player's face and head causing a violent impact with the glass. This is a player with a substantial disciplinary record taking advantage of an opponent in a defenseless position and doing so with significant force."
This is the fifth suspension of Wilson's career. His last came in 2018 when he was suspended for a hit to the head of Oskar Sundqvist.
Wilson has the option of appealing to the NHL commissioner. Since the suspension is over six games, he also has the option of appealing to a neutral arbitrator. Wilson elected to do both in 2018 and his suspension was knocked down from 20 to 14 by an arbitrator, but by then Wilson had already served 16 games of that suspension.
With Wilson out of the lineup, that will most likely mean more playing time for Daniel Sprong who has been the extra forward on the roster since the team got back to full strength. Sprong, however, will not be able to provide the same level of physicality Wilson is known to bring. Though the Caps still boast a number of physical players -- Brenden Dillon, Zdeno Chara, Garnet Hathaway, Alex Ovechkin -- a significant amount of snarl will be missing from the team for the next seven games.