At the beginning of the 2018-19 season the National Hockey League suspended Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson 20 games for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundkvist during the Capitals final preseason game against the St Louis Blues.
Wilson’s illegal headshot, caused Sundkvist to miss eight games due to a concussion and shoulder injury. Below is the hit in question that led to Wilson’s 20-game ban.
Today, Wilson’s 20-game ban was reduced six games by an Arbitrator, Shyam Das. Wilson will be eligible to play tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
You can read the details of the complete decision here. Apparently, the arbitrator thought the suspension was too long.
Article 18.13 provides: “The NDA shall have full remedial authority in respect of the matter should he/she determine that the Commissioner’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence.” As stated above, I find that the League’s decision that Wilson violated Rule 48 was supported by substantial evidence, but that the length of the 20-game suspension imposed was not supported by substantial evidence.
As remedy, consistent with my findings, I conclude that Wilson’s suspension should be reduced to 14 games. I have arrived at this length by treating his most recent prior 3 playoff game
suspension as the equivalent of 6 regular season games, as Parros did, doubling that based on all relevant circumstances to 12 games — which certainly constitutes more severe punishment
consistent with the CBA — and adding 2 games, as Parros did, based on the injury to Sundqvist. This 14-game suspension reflects the similarities with Kaleta as well as the relevant
circumstances that support a somewhat longer suspension in this case.
As I mentioned in October, Wilson is approaching Raffi Torres and Matt Cooke status. The NHL sent Wilson a message. Fourteen games is still a long suspension. Moving forward, Wilson will need to control his on-ice behavior or suffer the consequences. I honestly think it’s just a matter of time before Wilson is suspended again