Not everyone believes Tom Wilson’s 20-game suspension was warranted.
Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly defended his teammate Wednesday after the team raised it’s Stanley Cup banner and opened the regular season with a 7-0 win over the Bruins.
Wilson was introduced to a roaring ovation from the Washington crowd before the game but won’t be back on the ice for a while.
“Honestly, I think it’s garbage,” winger Devante Smith-Pelly told ESPN. “We watched a video from the league saying what hits are good and which ones aren’t. They showed some hits that were way worse than that … maybe not in force, but as it regards to the head, that were so-called ‘allowed.’ I guess he just has a different rule book, and I think it’s garbage, honestly.”
“If I’m going to say what I think, they’re going to suspend me too,” center Evgeny Kuznetsov added.
Wilson, considered a repeat offender, was suspended for his illegal check on Blues center Oskar Sundqvist in Sunday’s preseason game. The hit occurred in the second period when Wilson leveled Sundqvist in the head as he was cutting across the ice. Sundqvist left the game bloodied and did not return, and Wilson was ejected after being assessed a 10-minute penalty.
Tom Wilson’s hit on Oskar Sundqvist. Wilson received a match penalty. pic.twitter.com/gseYif7Fz4
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) September 30, 2018
Wilson, 24, signed a six-year, $31 million contract in July after logging a career-high 14 goals and 21 assists in 78 games last season. He later added five goals and 10 assists in 21 playoff matchups.
There were only 16 games between Wilson’s last suspension, for breaking Penguin Zach Aston-Reese’s jaw in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and this one.
The Capitals will look to keep their momentum going when they visit the rival Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday.