May 2 (UPI) — The NHL has suspended Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for three games for a check to the head of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced the decision Wednesday.
Wilson’s hit came in the second period of the Capitals’ Game 3 win against the Penguins Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa. Aston-Reese was skating near the Capitals’ bench with about 10:20 remaining in the second frame, when Wilson came flying in.
The Capitals’ forward was heading to the bench during a line change. He decided to change his path and move toward Aston-Reese, before delivering a high hit. Wilson used his left shoulder to hit Aston-Reese in the head during the collision.
Aston-Reese immediately crashed to the ice after his head snapped backwards. Wilson was not penalized for the hit. Aston-Reese suffered a broken jaw and a concussion due to the hit. He is out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Wilson plays on the Capitals’ top line, along with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
“We will see what the league says and then react off of it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told reporters before the announcement of Wilson’s suspension. “We’re going to prepare like we always do. Our focus is on the next game and any adjustments or any changes that we make, we’ll just react to whatever we need to.”
The Capitals and Penguins meet for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference series at 7 p.m. Thursday. Washington leads the series 2-1.
“It’s one guy’s actions and they have to address it,” Sidney Crosby said Wednesday, when asked about Wilson’s hit. “That’s what it comes down to. You can talk about it all you want, and you can dissect it all you want, but it doesn’t need to be that way if it’s handled properly.”