Aston-Reese Has Broken Jaw, Concussion Following Wilson Hit

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan criticizes Wilson's hit on Aston-Reese

Shelby Cassesse
May 01, 2018 - 11:48 pm
Tom Wilson criticized for questionable hit on Zach Aston-Reese

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The FAN) - Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese has a concussion and will need surgery on his broken jaw, according to Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan.

Aston-Reese was injured on a controversial hit Tuesday from Capitals forward Tom Wilson in the second period of the Penguins 4-3 loss. Wilson and Aston-Reese collided near the Penguins blue line, sending the Penguins forward to ice and Wilson nearly into his own bench. Aston-Reese eventually got up and left the game bleeding.

Wilson wasn't penalized for his hit, sparking debate on both sides.

"I thought it was high," Sullivan said. "What else can I say? I thought it was high." 

Though some Penguins didn’t care to comment, those who did appeared to be bothered more by Wilson smiling on the bench following the hit than the hit itself.

"At the end of the day, I respect what kind of game he plays, but you don't laugh at somebody getting hurt, you know? You just don't do that," said Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. 

Letang's fellow defenseman Justin Schultz had similar thoughts. 

"It's disrespectful when a guy's hurt, laying on the ice," he said. "Not too good to be laughing at someone like that, but we'll move on here."

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz called the hit a "hockey hit," but ultimately said they will let the league decide on whether or not Wilson will see any punishment. 

"He's a big body, he's tremendously strong and he hits hard," he said. "My first look at the hit, both guys are bracing for it, they were shoulder to shoulder and [Wilson] just blew through him."

This is the second time in as many games that Wilson has been criticized for a hit. In Game 2, a similar hit in the second period kept Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin out for the remainder of the game. Wilson didn't get any time in the penalty box, and the league ultimately decided not to have a hearing. He is also considered a repeat offender after having been suspended twice this season for hits in preseason games. 

Sullivan called upon the league to take action. 

"We just have to stay focused," he said. "We lose a guy to a broken jaw that will require surgery and a concussion because of another high hit to the head.  At some point, we would hope that the league might do something."