Capitals rookie Tom Wilson was not suspended for his charging hit against Flyers center Brayden Schenn in the second period of Tuesday night’s game, the NHL’s department of player safety announced Thursday.
Coach Adam Oates had been unwavering in his defense of Wilson, stating repeatedly that the rookie winger did nothing wrong on the play and that Schenn should have protected himself better.
Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s vice president of player safety, agreed, noting in the explanation video that Schenn turned his back to avoid the check, which made the hit worse. Shanahan also said the decision by Wilson to hit Schenn was not made until he was already in the offensive zone faceoff circle. See the full explanation below:
Wilson received a five-minute major penalty for charging and a game misconduct for the play that knocked Schenn out of the contest. Schenn avoided any significant injury, though, and is expected to play Thursday night when the Flyers host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“We agree with the league’s position that it was a clean hit. There should not have been a penalty on the play. It was a punishing hit, not predatory or otherwise illegal,” Capitals General Manager George McPhee said in a news release. “Under our current rules, punishing but clean hits are permitted. We are happy that Tom Wilson was vindicated and Brayden Schenn is not injured.”