Published 4:46 PM EDT Oct 3, 2018
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson will have a long time to reconsider his approach to checking players after he was suspended 20 games by the NHL on Wednesday.
The suspension, nearly a quarter of the NHL season, will cost him nearly $1.3 million in lost pay.
It was his fourth suspension since the start of the 2017-18 preseason and occurred 16 games after his last one.
Wilson was suspended for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the Capitals' final preseason game. Sundqvist was cutting across the middle of the ice in the second period when Wilson came back into the defensive zone and knocked him down.
"This is Wilson's fourth suspension in his last 105 games, an unprecedented frequency in the history of the Department of Player Safety," the league said in its suspension video.
Sundqvist, bloodied and woozy, was helped off the ice by teammates and is opening the season on the injured list.
"Wilson takes a poor angle of approach and picks Sundqvist's head and makes it the main point of contact," the league said. "It is also important to note that the head contact on this play is avoidable."
Wilson gained notoriety in last season's playoffs with a three-game suspension for breaking the jaw of the Pittsburgh Penguins' Zach Aston-Reese. He had injured two other players with hits earlier in the playoffs, including the game before, but he had escaped supplemental discipline.
Though Wilson has always been a physical player, last year's suspensions -- which included two for preseason actions -- were the first of his career.
Wilson had received a six-year, $31 million contract this offseason because of his physical play, his move to the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and his contributions to the Capitals' run to the Stanley Cup championship.
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