Penguins Players React to Lack of Punishment for Wilson

'I wasn’t ready for Wilson at all'

Josh Rowntree
April 30, 2018 - 3:18 pm
Pens defenseman Brian Dumoulin

93.7 the Fan

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - The National Hockey League announced Monday that there would be no disciplinary hearing for Washington forward Tom Wilson after his shoulder-to-head hit on Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin during Sunday’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The blow, combined with a simultaneous hit from Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, knocked Dumoulin out of the game. Washington went on to win the contest 4-1, tying the series at a game apiece.

“I wasn’t ready for Wilson at all,” Dumoulin said after practice Monday. “I was more bracing for (Ovechkin). I was trying to take an impact from (Ovechkin) and got caught in the head.”

Dumoulin was able to join his teammates less than 24 hours after leaving the game and entering concussion protocol. He skated in a non-contact jersey, but did confirm that he and the team satisfied the League’s requirements for players with possible concussion symptoms.

Wilson is a known offender, twice suspended and fined previously for controversial hits. He also has a bevy of borderline plays that went unpunished. So, the lack of even a hearing seemed questionable to some Penguins.

“I don’t make those decisions,” Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. “Just based on what you see around the league, I thought there was going to be something there. That’s not the case. It’s out of our control.”

While Crosby was more direct on his thoughts, Dumoulin deflected when asked if he was surprised by the lack of discipline.

“It’s not for me to say,” Dumoulin added. “I’m not the one making decisions on that obviously. I care more about myself than I do him and I just want to make sure that I’m good and taking the appropriate steps to come back when I’m ready.”

Wilson’s hit marks the third straight series against Washington in which a Capitals player has applied a controversial hit to a Penguins player.

In 2016, Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik received a three-game suspension for a high hit on Olli Maatta. Last year, another Caps defenseman and former Penguins player, Matt Niskanen, concussed Crosby with a cross check to the head.

“I don’t think we can worry about that too much,” Maatta said. “I think we’ve just got to focus on the game itself. It’s a 1-1 series now and these are tough games. We knew that coming into the series. It’s a five-game series now and we’ve just got to make sure we get the next one.”

A victim of several hits to the head himself, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang sarcastically laughed when asked about Wilson not being punished.

“Surprised?” he asked. “No, I’m not surprised. We don’t know anymore. We can’t control it so we can’t get frustrated about it. It is what it is and we just have to move on and start Game 3 like nothing happened.”

Crosby echoed Letang’s forward-thinking mindset.

“You have to forget about it, he said. “Obviously, when you see that, especially, live, you see the same thing. You don’t need replay to verify what you think. It doesn’t matter now, it’s in the past and we have to focus on Game 3.”