Tom Wilson: Receives three-game ban

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Midway through the second period of Game 3, Wilson lined up Pittsburgh Penguins rookie Zach Aston-Reese. The league determined that, although Wilson led with his shoulder, he elevated up to make Aston-Reese's head the main point of contact on a hit where that was considered avoidable.

Wilson's capsizing collision on Aston-Reese, wherein which he targeted the head and clearly left his feet, was hardly an isolated incident.

After watching two Penguins take hits to the head, fans are upset and angry with Wilson, the Capitals and the National Hockey League. Had Wilson employed the same intent as Kadri did on Wingels, then Aston-Reese would be nursing much more than a broken jaw. "But I'm completely against taking away physicality from the game".

The number of borderline hits this postseason has brought increased attention to the league's department of player safety, which is under the direction of former on-ice enforcer George Parros. In Game 2, Wilson and Alex Ovechkin collided with Brian Dumoulin and Wilson's shoulder hit the side of Dumoulin's head, but the Department of Player Safety did not call for a hearing to review the play. Only two other players (Antoine Roussel and Cody McLeod at 707) have more than 600 penalty minutes. I don't know what the concussion status is, but I've had that before, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

That's because the NHL's ambiguous rules regarding upper-body contact make these types of plays hard to prosecute. Some of the ugly commentary thrown in Wilson's direction is warranted, while some is a result of the player's reputation and physical style of play.

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Penguins fans angered by Capitals star Tom Wilson's illegal hit on Zach Aston-Reese during Stanley Cup playoffs.

Other players at the Capitals' optional skate Wednesday morning did their best not to focus on what was then a what-if question. "We're just out there to play hockey to try and win games". During the second period of Game 3 on May 1, Tom checked Tom near the benches. The play overshadowed Washington's 4-3 win that gave the Caps a 2-1 lead in the series. "It's a high hit", Coach Mike Sullivan said. "The ref just says, 'He's bigger than you.' That's the way it goes". They might have paid attention to him, too, but I think we all simplified things: "Shot the puck and got rewarded".

"At some point we would hope that the league might do something", he said after the loss. I think the boys are fired up. Wilson's intent was to make a good hockey play, but it went wrong.

Wilson received a charging minor for leveling Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky in Game 4 of the Capitals' first-round playoff series in 2015, a play which injured Visnovsky, a serial concussion victim, and kept him out the remaining three games of the series.

Wilson had been an integral part of the Capitals' top line in this series, more than just offensively - as shown by his interference on Olli Maatta, which sprung Ovechkin for his game-winning goal in Game 3.

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