Back on Tuesday, in his popular 30 Thoughts column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that “several teams” have complained about Tom Wilson’s hits and that a meeting with the NHL’s Player Safety Department had been requested.
After taking a roughing penalty on Antoine Roussel early in the second period of the Caps’ 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars Friday night, Wilson is beginning to wonder if he’s being targeted by NHL referees.
“Yeah, it’s getting pretty frustrating,” Wilson said. “I know when I came into the league three years ago I don’t think that would have been looked at as even close to a penalty.”
Wilson was referring to joining a scrum in front of the Dallas net after teammate Michael Latta was tied up while battling for a loose puck. After the whistle Wilson entered the fray and grabbed Roussel.
“I come in, I bear hug (Roussel), no punches thrown,” Wilson said. “It’s a scrum, and I get taken out of that. I guess I’ve got to take it as another learning curve.”
It marked the second time in four games that Wilson went to the box without taking an opponent with him. Last week in Philadelphia, Wilson received two minutes for charging defenseman Nick Schultz. Wilson appeared to accelerate into that hit and it’s possible the Flyers were concerned enough to make a phone call to the league.
Wilson, who has 23 penalty minutes but just one fighting major, said he just wants referees to see what’s in front of them, noting Roussel’s reputation as a feisty competitor who racked up more than 200 penalty minutes two seasons ago with the Stars.
“I know that guy over there is not an angel,” Wilson said. “He’s been hooking and punching all night and I just go in there. It’s unfortunate to put the team down (a man) again, but I’ve just got to maybe talk to the refs and see what they think and what they’re calling on that.
“I mean, a couple plays later I get hauled down. I think there’s a lot of stuff that could have been a lot worse than that (roughing penalty) going on the entire night. I mean, I don’t think we had a power play, so to say they played completely clean hockey all night and I get that penalty, it’s just kind of frustrating.”