Recent history between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers is laden with violence and heartbreak. In a game earlier this season, amidst a severely lopsided Caps victory, a brawl materialized in the third period after Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds went hit happy. Caps tough guy Tom Wilson intervened and traded fists with Simmonds, however, the event is most infamously remembered for Caps goaltender Ray Emery skating the length of the ice to beat the snot out of pacifist netminder Braden Holtby. Emery was not suspended, which left many shaking their heads. The final score on that night was 7-0 Caps.
This past Sunday they met again in another disappointing performance by the Flyers. Conversely, it was a magical night for the Capitals, who scored thrice in the third to erase a 4-2 scoreboard deficit, winning the game on a late Alex Ovechkin score, pre-overtime, no points for the Flyers. These teams don’t like each other.
The Flyers entered yesterday’s game – the second half of a home-and-home with the Capitals – the winners of 1 of their last 5 decisions. They couldn’t let another two points slip against division rivals, the Caps. Philly won the game 5-2, but all the talk today is about a controversial hit thrown by Capitals rookie Tom Wilson.
Tom Wilson is a big kid. At 6-foot-4, 210-pounds, he’s a giant in a 19-year-old frame. And he plays with a fearless approach, one that sees him deliver hard and heavy body checks upon less monstrous opponents. And in last night’s game he absolutely obliterated Flyers forward – no runt in his own right – Brayden Schenn.
Wilson was hit by the refs with five for charging, five for fighting, and a ten minute misconduct, and ejection from the game. Schenn was wobbly; struggled to skate off the ice and did not return.
The hockey world is divided on this one. Some think Wilson should be suspended, accusing the Caps rookie of travelling great distances at high speed for the sole purpose of devouring a vulnerable Brayden Schenn.
Tom Wilson started his run at Brayden Schenn from King of Prussia. Jeez.
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) December 18, 2013
Problem with Tom Wilson hit isn't the hit, which Schenn turned into. It's the premeditation of a guy skating from South Jersey to deliver it
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) December 18, 2013
Wilson also has his supporters. For instance, his head coach, general manager and captain believe the hit was clean; there should be no suspension; shouldn’t have even been a penalty, they say.
New RMNB: Adam Oates doesn't think Tom Wilson should have been penalized at all http://t.co/RUNjZFv0vM
— RMNB (@russianmachine) December 18, 2013
Morning Line: On the Tom Wilson hit on Brayden Schenn last night… McPhee thought it was a "great hit." Oates… http://t.co/uPOE8fZdJv
— Kukla's Korner (@kuklaskorner) December 18, 2013
Alex Ovechkin defended Tom Wilson's hit on Brayden Schenn calling it "clean". What do you think? VIDEO: http://t.co/wvcpN32nru
— Back Row Sports (@BackRowSports) December 18, 2013
There has been no announcement made concerning how the league will handle this situation, or if they will step in at all. Lord knows they’re pretty busy these days as a recent string of suspendible hits and plays has swept through the NHL over the last few weeks. In total, there’s been eight suspensions since December 9, which is almost one per day.
UPDATE: Tom Wilson will face supplemental discipline from the league. His hearing is tomorrow, as per Bob McKenzie:
WSH's Tom Wilson has a noon ET hearing tomorrow with NHL for his hit last night on PHI's Brayden Schenn.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 18, 2013