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Tom Wilson’s Suspension Reduced

After an appeal to the NHL, Wilson and the NHLPA earn a reduced sentence from a neutral arbitrator

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It’s been six weeks and 16 games, but the latest Tom Wilson Suspension drama finally has some resolution, as neutral arbitrator Shyam Das issued his ruling today that would reduce Wilson’s sentence from 20 games to 14. While Wilson has obviously served more than the 14 games already, the ruling does have monetary value - to the tune of about $378,000 saved in salary that had originally been forfeited by Wilson.

The Washington Post’s Isabelle Kurshudyan has more on Das’s ruling here:

Wilson then appealed to a neutral arbitrator, a route historically more favorable to players, and it took Das nearly two weeks to reach his conclusion. Das agreed with Bettman that Wilson’s hit violated Rule 48, with Sundqvist’s head being the main point of contact, and that the contact was avoidable, but he found fault with the Department of Player Safety’s rationale for a 20-game ban. [...]

[I]n reviewing the past suspensions of Raffi Torres in 2012 and Patrick Kaleta in 2013, Das concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to support Parros’s multiplier of three. As a result, he used a multiplier of two to get to 12 games, then added two more for the injuries.

Wilson has been allowed to skate and practice with the team, and is expected to be back in the lineup tonight alongside his old linemates, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin.

The team has struggled to find a replacement for Wilson on that line since his suspension took him out of the lineup prior to the season opener, the trio having been one of the team’s best in the second half and through the playoffs last year. And with the team on a bit of a skid, he’ll be under pressure to produce immediately - and live up to the big contract he signed over the summer (pre-suspension).

The pressure to perform won’t be all that’s weighing on Wilson, however; after a slew of recent suspensions that culminated with the hefty 20-game ban, and a career littered with hits that straddled the line between legal and not (plus even more that crossed into “well, it’s legal, but...” territory), all eyes in the hockey world will be on Wilson to see if he’s truly learned his lesson.