Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson will serve the third game of his historic 20 game suspension this evening when the Capitals take on the Vegas Golden Knights in a Stanley Cup rematch from Capital One Center in Washington, D.C. Wilson, of course, received his suspension from NHL Player Safety for his head shot on Oskar Sundqvist of the St. Louis Blues, a hit that left Sundqvist in a bloody heap on the ice.
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Wilson, as was expected, has appealed the decision by Player Safety and is currently having his case reviewed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Should Wilson not like Bettman’s verdict he has the option to take his case to a third party arbitrator. In the meantime, the NHL has made a concession for Wilson and the Capitals while judgement is being decided upon. According to Capitals insider Isabelle Khurshudyan the NHL has allowed the Capitals to designate Wilson as an active non-roster player, effectively freeing up his roster spot and allowing the Capitals to go over the league’s 23 man maximum roster.
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As it turns out, Tom Wilson is considered an active non-roster player. His cap hit is still on the books, but he doesn't count against the team's roster max of 23. So to activate Michal Kempny off IR, the Caps didn't actually have to send anyone down, and they didn't.
The NHL has granted Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson non-roster status while he goes through the appeal process for his 20-game suspension.
This opens up a roster spot for the Capitals to activate Michal Kempný off injured reserve.
While it may not be exactly the news that Wilson, the Capitals and the fanbase would like to hear, it's at least a decision that helps the team in the short term. As it turns out, the Capitals have been just fine without Wilson in their lineup. In the team's first two games, they've scored 13 goals in a 7-0 victory over the Boston Bruins and a 7-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Should the Caps keep filling the net with such regularity, it's not likely that Wilson's absence will be felt all that much, regardless of how much time he ultimately misses.