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Insider Only Series Buzz: Potential Return of Carl Hagelin & Impact of the Capitals losing Tom Wilson to a suspension

Penguins – Capitals Series Buzz

The NHL Department of Player Safety pulled a stunner on Wednesday evening in suspending Capitals winger Tom Wilson for three games, meaning he will only play in this series if it goes seven games.

There were countless debates on whether Wilson deserved at least 1-2 games with a crowd among former players who believe it was a hockey hit.

Nonetheless, there was no escaping for Wilson on avoiding a suspension here because of the NHL’s precedent of factoring in injuries on whether to suspend a player or not.

Wilson is a predatory, head hunter type of player and while I hated the Wilson hit on Dumoulin much more than the Aston-Reese one as Aston-Reese was at least bracing for the hit, the NHL Department of Player Safety’s breakdown of the video in slow motion further illustrates Wilson got what he deserved.

The thing that stands out in the video in slow motion is how Wilson is at the end of the shift and as his linemates are going to the bench for a change, notably center Evgeni Kuznetsov, Wilson looks to be following suit only to see Aston-Reese as prime meat to deliver an open ice hit.

It was such an avoidable hit for Wilson not to take and why the NHL deserves to be applauded.

Wilson is Matt Cooke 2.0 in how thrives on being a head-hunter but what gets overlooked is how Wilson’s a pretty important player for the Capitals.

Head-hunter, goon, whatever Wilson deserves to be labeled as, this suspension has an impact on the Capitals lineup for the rest of the series.

Playing a first-line role in the playoffs, Wilson had 14 goals and 35 points in the regular season.

This isn’t losing an Ovechkin, Kuznetsov or Carlson by any means, but Wilson’s impact in this series can’t go overlooked.

Wilson has 4 assists in three games, is at 54% in possession during the series, 57% in Scoring Chance For Percentage and has been on the ice for Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

His biggest strength, though, is how the dangerous nature he plays the game in that his presence puts the opposition, notably d-men on their heels at every moment when trying to exit the zone.

You always gotta be aware of wilson because if not he’ll take your head off and as one scout said, Wilson is a ‘premium forechecker’ with the physicality and strong angles he takes below the dots.

In the 2016 postseason series between the Penguins – Capitals, Brooks Orpik is a 2nd-3rd level type player like Wilson, but Orpik’s stupidity in concussing Olli Maatta crushed the Capitals defensive depth in that series and it will be interesting if Wilson’s stupidity ends up haunting the Capitals again.


— For the Penguins tonight, all signs point to Carl Hagelin being cleared to play. That’s a great trade off for the Penguins in getting Hagelin back to fill a second-line role and the Capitals being forced to play Devante Smith-Pelly in a top-line role tonight.

Mike Sullivan ready to turn to Daniel Sprong also tonight? Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"


–Derick Brassard has 0 points and 4 shots on goal this series. A source says there has been internal discussions of giving Brassard some shifts with Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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