Commissioner upholds Wilson's 20-game suspension

Ben Krimmel
October 25, 2018 - 4:19 pm
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman ruled to uphold the 20-game suspension to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson Thursday, denying the NHL Players' Associations appeal, according to a statement by the NHL. Wilson was suspended October 3 for an illegal check to the head of Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during Washington's final preseason game. 

"I find that the decision suspending Mr. Wilson for twenty games was supported by clear and convincing evidence and is, therefore, affirmed," Bettman wrote in a 31-page report detailing the decision and the seven hour appeal hearing held in New York on October 18.

Wilson has already missed the Capitals opening eight games of the season and will remain out until November 21.

"In my judgment, a 20 regular season game suspension assessed to Mr. Wilson reflects and accounts for appropriately the unique combination of factors involved in this case, including the gravity of the offense, Mr. Wilson’s prior disciplinary record (particularly within the relatively short period of time in which it was amassed), the multiple warnings and guidance he has received from the DPS, and the seriousness of Mr. Sundqvist’s injury,” Bettman wrote  at the conclusion of his ruling.

Bettman had some harsh words for Wilson and his past bad behavior on the ice and issued the Caps' forward a warning about the future.

"One true and fundamental test of effective discipline is whether the discipline is of sufficient strength and impact that it has the effect of deterring the Player being disciplined from repeating the same or similar conduct in the future," Bettman wrote. "By this standard, the supplementary discipline previously assessed to Mr. Wilson prior to this incident has clearly been ineffective in deterring his dangerously reckless play."

"I hope that this decision will serve as an appropriate 'wake-up call' to Mr. Wilson, causing him to reevaluate and make positives changes to his game," Bettman wrote. 

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