The Capitals are so happy to have Tom Wilson back

Chris Lingebach
November 16, 2018 - 5:17 pm

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

It was a huge emotional boost getting Tom Wilson back sooner than initially expected, Devante Smith-Pelly says.

Wilson, true to form, threw hands with Marcus Foligno in his first game back against Minnesota on Tuesday.

"We all woke up to the news," Smith-Pelly told Grant & Danny during his weekly appearance, presented by F.H. Furr. "So we were excited for him and excited to get him back in, and kind of slotted everyone back into the same lineup as last year in the (Stanley Cup) Finals. It was exciting and he did well. I mean, he's a specimen, so no one was worried about that."

An independent arbitrator ruled on Tuesday to reduce Wilson's 20-game suspension to 14 games. Unfortunately for Wilson, he had already served 16 games of the original suspension. While he'll never get those two games back, he will get back nearly $380,000 in lost salary.

Smith-Pelly can't explain why that happens in hockey and no other professional sports.

"I wish I knew. I have no idea," he said. "I honestly, I don't have an answer. I have no idea how they came to that and how that's allowed. I guess we're glad it wasn't 20, regardless of the number."

"Is that one of those things though, where in the next CBA, if you are in charge of representing every player and you just get the deal done," Paulsen said, "Would you say, 'This is something we should change; you shouldn't serve more games than your suspension ends up being'?"

"He served 16 games of a 14-game suspension," Rouhier chimed. "That's the craziest sentence ever!"

"Yeah, I guess that could be changed," said Smith-Pelly. "After all the appeals and everything, and I know there's a lot of paperwork to get through so it was taking a lot of time. I don't know if there is enough time for, if the arbitrator thought it was 14 games, to get that out before 14 games. I think that probably has something to do with it. I guess it should be changed."

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