In case you missed it last night, midway through the second period of a tightly contested Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, Capitals forward Tom Wilson laid out Penguins forward Zach Aston Reese with an absolutely devastating and CRUSHING hit in the neutral zone.
Wilson lines Aston-Reese up, drive through him with his shoulder and drops him like a sack of dirt right directly in front of the Capitals bench.
Here’s the play in question:
As NBC analyst Pierre McGuire says, Wilson drives through the hit at a high rate of speed, but is charging? Borderline. What about the point of contact? Does Wilson drive his shoulder through Aston-Reese’s head? It certainly looks that way… and Aston-Reese’s injury confirms it.
The Penguins rookie forward has been ruled out indefinitely with a broken jaw and a concussion.
Coach Sullivan confirms that as a result of the Tom Wilson hit in the 2nd period, Zach Aston-Reese has a broken jaw that will require surgery as well as a concussion.
After the game, which ended in a 4-3 Capitals victory, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was clearly NOT happy with the hit and with the fact that none of the on-ice officials called a penalty on the play. Sullivan urged NHL Player Safety to step up and make an example of Wilson.
Sullivan: "We lose a guy to a broken jaw that’s going to require surgery and a concussion because of another high hit to the head. At some point we would hope that the league might do something."
Given the severity of Aston Reese’s injury and the history that Wilson has in delivering high, borderline style hits, you can bet your last bottom dollar that the league will review the hit. Whether or not Wilson receives any supplemental discipline however is anyone’s guess. Trying to predict the decisions of NHL Player Safety is like trying predict Don Cherry’s wardrobe.
It seemed obvious that Wilson would at least receive a hearing for his hit on Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin in Game 2. No dice. Maybe now the NHL will actually be forced into action?