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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Big Bad Tom

If you just watched the Flyers-Capitals games, you just saw the not-so-little-Tom Wilson throw a gigantic hit on Brayden Schenn:

The hit resulted in a five minute charging major, a five minute fighting major and a ten minute game misconduct.  Not good.

So, with penalties like that, you immediately have to wonder if Wilson will see any sort of suspension for his hit.

There will surely be a hearing.  But, will there be a suspension?

There are a few important things to take away from this situation:  1) It was a charging penalty, 2) It was a major penalty, and 3) It was a game misconduct.  All are major factors in determining whether further action should be taken.  Let's look at the handy-dandy NHL Rulebook.

Rule 42 handles charging situations.  Charging is defined as "a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.  Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner."  Wilson did this.  Rule 42.3 states that it is up to the referees decision to determine whether the charge was violent enough.  It was.  Rule 42.5 states that Wilson was given a game misconduct because his hit resulted in an injury to Schenn,
Wilson isn't being so bad in this photo from the Washington Post
who appeared to be concussed.  So all of the calls to Wilson were reasonable according to 
the Rule Book, you can't argue that.  Now, look at Rule 42.6.  In order to be considered for a suspension or a fine, you must have received a major penalty and a game misconduct, which Wilson was.  So, he can be considered for a suspension, you cannot argue that.  Automatically, Wilson has to pay a fine of $100, which I would have been extremely pissed off about at the age of 19 years old when I worked as a waiter.  It is then up to NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan whether or not a decision should be made, and then Shanahan will explain to us why he made that decision (if there is a suspension) in a fun little video.

So basically, it is up to Shanahan whether or not we see a Wilson suspension.  

Here is how I see it.  Wilson does have a lot of things going for him.  The hit does initially appear to be shoulder to shoulder, not from behind.  That's a good thing.  However, Schenn turns at the last second, opening up his back to Wilson just a little bit.  This is what makes the decision so hard for Shanahan.  I personally don't believe that it was enough time for Wilson to back off.  The issue that Wilson faces is the fact that it was a very violent hit, and it resulted in what appeared to be an injury to Schenn.  The league is trying to cut back drastically on head injuries, and while I don't personally believe that Wilson intended on hurting Schenn or hit him in the head, he appears to have suffered a head injury.  It's just unfortunate that it looks so violent.  Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that this is Wilson's first controversial play.  Shanahan will take that into consideration as well. 

His decision will be the correct one, just like it was technically the correct call to not suspend Ray Emery.  That's right, he technically made the right call against Emery, as Emery fell into the "aggressor" rule, and according to Rule 46.17, a player can only be suspended if he has been labeled as the aggressor for the third time in a season.  Which is absurd, which is why they are considering changing it.

I think it is 50/50.  I would understand either way, but do not be surprised if you see Tom Wilson sit out a couple of games.  Bad Wilson.

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