This was Wilson’s first discipline from the league, though even he admits he’s developed a reputation that’s been hard to shake. He accumulated the third-most penalty minutes in the league this season. The fine is the maximum allowable fine under the collective bargaining agreement, and he’s arguably fortunate that he avoided suspension. The hit was penalized on the ice, and Sheary wasn’t injured as a result, likely lessening the penalty.
On Friday, Trotz said, “I thought it was okay, but it wasn’t really, I would say necessary, probably on both.” He added that he would support whatever the league decided, and he stood by that on Saturday.
The fine means that his next incident could result in a suspension. Wilson is one of the Capitals’ top penalty killers, and in a primarily defensive power forward role, he had seven goals and 16 assists in the regular season.
“When you play the game that way, you’re going to be under a microscope,” Wilson said. “You’re finishing checks hard and up until this one, I’ve been completely off the books. I’ve hit very hard, but very legal, so I’m not going to change the way I play. I’ve got to trust my instincts. That’s just the real unfortunate kind of circumstance; I don’t even intend to really hit him there, I’m trying to kind of bluff hit him and our legs get tangled up. I had no intention of going knee on knee. You ask any player, if I’m going in there planning to go knee-on-knee, there’s a 50-50 chance it’s gonna be my knee that blows up. …
“I’ve talked to Barry, I’ve talked to numerous refs, the league’s talked to people and it’s no secret that I hit hard and I play the game hard. I’ve just gotta make sure that I’m staying within the rules and doing what I have been doing.”