On Sunday afternoon during Game 2 of the Penguins and Capitals 2nd round playoff series at the Capital One Arena, Tom Wilson yet again was Tom Wilson, putting a shoulder to the head of Brian Dumoulin.
We’ve all seen the replays by now, but for those who may have missed it:
The Tom Wilson check to the head that sent Dumoulin to the room pic.twitter.com/cbRVMLBURo— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 29, 2018
Wilson tag-teamed Dumoulin with Alexander Ovechkin (who I believe did absolutely nothing wrong here.)
Dumoulin was bracing for contact from Ovechkin and Wilson took advantage of his vulnerable position and tried to send him into next week.
There was no penalty called on the play, no on-ice disciple, but surely the NHL Department of Player Safety would at least hold a hearing to discuss it, right?
No disciplinary hearing for Tom Wilson for hit on Brian Dumoulin. @wyshynski had a few minutes ago. Belief is Dumoulin moved head at last minute.— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) April 30, 2018
Wrong. No hearing, no fine, no suspension, nothing. One would think that by this point, with a concussion lawsuit mounting, the NHL would at least pretend to care and give Tom Wilson a slap on the wrist, but think again.
Why in the world would there be no hearing even? They determined that the hit to head was “unavoidable.”
The Department of Player Safety analyzes four recent hits to explain how we determine if head contact is avoidable or unavoidable under the Illegal Check to the Head rule. https://t.co/v3yNXJZXMq— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 1, 2018
Now, the question I have is this. If a player accidentally slashes an opponent while trying to take a shot, do they call slashing? If a player is trying to get into a different position and hits a player in the face with their stick by accident, is it still called for high-sticking? If a player is racing to beat another player down the ice and their stick tangles up another players skates inadvertently, do they still call tripping? Yes, because these are the most obvious answers in the world. Yet now, because the hit to the head was accidental and “unavoidable,” you’re not going to penalize or punish for a headshot? Please tell me if that makes any sense whatsoever. We have a history of a garbage player who takes garbage runs at anyone he can giving a brutal headshot to another player, but we’ll call it “unavoidable.” What will truly be unavoidable will be the NHL’s ability to skate away from a massive lawsuit in due time.