April 15, 2024

Source – Capitals’ Tom Wilson won’t appeal 6-game suspension

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has decided not to appeal his six-game suspension for a high stick to the head of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Noah Gregor, a source told ESPN on Sunday night.

The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Wilson on Friday. It’s the sixth suspension of his career. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Wilson will forfeit $161,458.32.

Wilson and the NHLPA could have appealed the ban to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. After Bettman’s appeal ruling, and since the suspension was six or more games, Wilson was eligible to appeal it again to a neutral arbitrator.

Wilson had one hand on his stick when it struck Gregor in the face during the third period of Wednesday’s game against Toronto. Wilson was given a double-minor for high-sticking. The NHL offered him an in-person hearing for the infraction and then suspended him six games.

While they acknowledged Wilson didn’t intend to strike Gregor in the face, the NHL said Wilson was “accountable for the dangerous result of the play which is a direct and forceful blow to an opponent’s head by a player with a substantial track record of supplemental discipline.”

An NHL source told ESPN before the hearing that the Capitals had anticipated a suspension longer than six games due to Wilson’s disciplinary history. This was the ninth suspension or fine that he’s earned in his 746-game NHL career.

The NHL considered that history in its punishment, but Wilson’s suspension was capped at six games because his previous suspensions didn’t involve stick fouls and because this was his first run-in with the Department of Player Safety since May 2021.

The NHLPA had appealed three suspensions already this season, but only one for a ban of six games or greater (Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron).