Capitals forward Tom Wilson took issue Tuesday with a hit from Tampa’s Anton Stralman during the first period of Washington’s 4-2 loss.
Stralman crunched Wilson into the boards, resulting in a penalty. Wilson was slow to get up and went back to the locker room to be evaluated for an injury. He returned to the rink four minutes of ice time later, but was still bothered after the game.
Specifically, Wilson — who was suspended three games for a hit to the head last round — said if it had been him delivering the hit, then “100 percent, I’m probably sitting out.”
“You better believe there might be a little bit more attention on it,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t matter. It’s a vulnerable position, and no doubt there’s contact with my head. If I’m wearing a helmet from five years ago, I think I’m probably unconscious.”
Replays showed Stralman launch and lift his elbow to make contact with the back of Wilson’s head. In the Pittsburgh series, the NHL Department of Player Safety cited Wilson’s launch against forward Zach Aston-Reese as a reason for his suspension. Rule 48.1 of the NHL rulebook forbids illegal and unnecessary hits to the head.
The NHL still might review the hit, and Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he would leave it to the league to handle the matter.
But Trotz indicated he agreed with Wilson.
“When I looked at it, I thought numbers and launching yourself in, those are two things that are red flags,” Trotz said. “But the league is going to look at it, and they do a good job whatever they decide. But I understand where Tom is coming from.”
Wilson said he had a “goose egg” on the side of his head. As he crumpled to the ice, he put his hand on the back of his head.
“I’m not one to lay on the ice, but it took me a little bit to collect myself,” Wilson said. “I got back out there, but everything I’ve heard all year, he sees numbers for a good amount of time and he elevates through the back of my shoulder and head.”
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