Capitals rookie Tom Wilson will not be fined or suspended for his hit on Flyers forward Brayden Schenn, the NHL determined after a disciplinary hearing Thursday.
Vice-president of player safety Brendan Shanahan explained that decision in a three-minute video posted on the league’s website designed to lay out the case for why Wilson did not get further discipline beyond a five-minute charging penalty and game misconduct.
Shanahan said Wilson was not punished for boarding because Schenn began to turn his back to try to avoid contact after looking back at the Washington winger. It was the NHL department of player safety’s determination that Schenn turning “actually contributes to making this hit worse.”
In looking at the charging aspect of the hit, Shanahan went into a lengthy explanation of how teams forecheck. Even though Wilson skated directly from the bench to hit Schenn, Shanahan said most of that distance was travelled in “typical forechecking fashion.”
As for the hit itself, Shanahan said it was shoulder to shoulder, crediting Wilson for staying low throughout the course of delivering it.
Schenn left the game but the team said he did not have a concussion. He was in Philadelphia’s lineup Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Capitals contended from Tuesday night on that Wilson’s hit was not dirty.
“We agree with the league’s position that it was a clean hit,” Capitals general manager George McPhee said in a statement released through a team spokesman. “There should not have been a penalty on the play. It was a punishing hit, not predatory or otherwise illegal. Under our current rules, punishing but clean hits are permitted. We are happy that Tom Wilson was vindicated and Brayden Schenn is not injured.”
Wilson, a Toronto native, has no history of supplemental discipline during his first NHL season. He was suspended five games last season for a hit from behind while playing for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers.