Ex-NHL Referee Kerry Fraser: Tom Wilson Is A Predatory Hitter

Fraser calls for more charging penalties in today's NHL

The Fan Morning Show
May 03, 2018 - 11:26 am
Tom Wilson hit

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Kerry Fraser was an NHL official for 30 seasons and has just about seen it all when it comes to hockey officiating. 

He joined The Fan Morning Show on Thursday to share his opinion on the hits by Tom Wilson during this playoff series. He says that justice was finally served correctly.

"From the time I saw the hit I was on it and debating on Twitter with people that thought it was a good hockey hit, I hate that term," said Fraser. "When he launched himself into the air and made direct contact with the chin, it tipped the iceberg. It was clear that it needed to be dealt with, good on the Department of Player Safety for wisely determining three games during a playoff series [which] equates to six in the regular season at least."

Fraser had some pointed thoughts on Tom Wilson as a player.

"I've also maintained over the course of these playoff years since I've been watching that Tom Wilson is a predatory hitter," said Fraser. "He's always on the edge, most often crossing it. He got some justice or at least the Penguins got some justice here. Tom Wilson is an effective player and can be very effective if he stays on the right side of the line."

Fraser did not think that Wilson's hit on Brian Dumoulin in Game 2 was suspension-worthy, however.

"Because of the collision with Ovechkin that was about to happen, Wilson had his hands down in more of a defensive posture, he was intending to deliver a body check." 

But, Fraser is adament that keeping players' skates on the ice through contact will help greatly with this issue of hits to the head across the league.

"The culture that we see now has moved from, you know I go back to the great checkers in the game, Bob Gainey, Craig Ramsay, Guy Carbonneau, guys that used angles and delivered body checks to separate a man from the puck and gain puck possession, that's all changed," Fraser said. "It changed drastically when we came back from the 2004 lockout the first time and players started to elevate. I've said this for a number of years now, unless we keep the players' skates on the ice, through contact and there's always an excuse that they leave their skates as they explode through the contact, well those are excessive kinds of hits that are being delivered. They're not to separate the man from the puck."

"If you take a guy who's six foot plus and he elevates himself to the degree of three to five inches off the ice, everything is moving in an upward position and it's just impossible not to make some contact with the head. When was the last time you saw a charging penalty?  When I first started, I started in the 70's, any time a player left his feet, we were instructed to call a charging penalty. And the players accepted that, they understood it. They hit through the center mass [of the body]. And we had some really wild hockey in the 70's."

You can hear more insights and analysis from Kerry Fraser with The Fan Morning show in the full interview below.         

 

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