Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo was released from the hospital Saturday after spending the night following a head hit from Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson, who was suspended seven games.
Wilson was suspended and will miss games for the next two weeks after a Zoom hearing to discuss the incident.
“What separates this hit from others is the direct and significant contact to a defenseless player’s face and head, causing a violent impact with the glass,” the league said in announcing the suspension. “This is a player with a substantial disciplinary record taking advantage of an opponent who is in a defenseless position and doing so with significant force.”
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Wilson will next be eligible to play when Washington hosts the Rangers on March 20. He’ll forfeit $311,782 in salary.
Wilson is one of the league’s most penalized and suspended players, but he is not considered a repeat offender under the collective bargaining agreement because his last suspension was more than 18 months ago. This is his fifth suspension, and Wilson has been fined twice before in his NHL career.
“To me, it was a hockey hit,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said after practice Saturday in Philadelphia. “If this is a suspendable play, then all hitting really is going to probably have to be removed because he didn’t take any strides, he didn’t target the head, a player was up against the boards, he was upright and Tom hit him hard.”
The league’s department of player safety said the totality of the circumstances — from Carlo’s vulnerable position to Wilson’s angle of approach — made it a suspendable play.
“Personally, I think it was a clean hit,” teammate Nic Dowd said. “He definitely didn’t mean to hurt Carlo by any means, and I think he led with his hands down and through the chest and I think it was just an unfortunate event in how it ended.”
Carlo’s injury factored into the length of Wilson’s suspension. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Carlo was back home and did not attend practice.
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Carlo left Friday night’s game against the Capitals after Wilson hit him late in the first period, smashing his head into the glass with his hands and stick. Cassidy called the hit “predatory. No penalty was called on the play.
Boston’s Trent Frederic and Jarred Tinordi both fought Wilson later in the Bruins’ 5-1 victory.