Suspend Tom Wilson and Demand that the NHL Make Fundamental Changes to the DoPS
Suspend Tom Wilson and Demand that the NHL Make Fundamental Changes to the DoPS
Why this petition matters
The purpose of this petition is to demand that Washington Capitals's forward Tom Wilson receives a serious suspension from the NHL due to the fact that he poses a consistent and serious threat to the health, safety, and general well being of his competitors. Wilson has now been suspended by the NHL 5 times, and fined 3 times for his dangerous play:
1. March 2015 - Wilson was fined $2,000 for embellishment
2. 4/29/2016 - Wilson was fined $2,400 for kneeing Connor Sheary. Thankfully, Sheary wasn't seriously injured on the play.
3. 9/22/2017 - Wilson was suspended two preseason games for interference on Robert Thomas during a preseason game. Thankfully, Thomas was not injured on the play
4. 10/1/2017 - Not even two weeks after his first suspension Wilson was suspended again, this time for four games, for boarding Sammy Blais during a preseason game. Luckily, Blais wasn't seriously injured on the play.
5. 5/1/2018 - Wilson was suspended for three playoff games due to an illegal check to the head of Zach Aston-Reese. Aston-Reese suffered a concussion and a broken jaw as a result of the play.
6. 9/20/2018 - Wilson was suspended for 20 games for an illegal check to the head of Oskar Sundqvist (the suspension was later shortened to 14 games). Sundqvist suffered a shoulder injury, a concussion, and a facial laceration as a result of the hit.
7. 3/6/2021 - Wilson was suspended for 7 games for boarding Brandon Carlo. Carlo received a concussion as a result of the play.
8. 5/4/2021 - Wilson was fined $5,000 roughing Pavel Buchnevich. Wilson punched Buchnevich in the back of the head while Buchnevich was already laying face down on the ice in what was clearly a defenseless position. Luckily Buchnevich was not seriously injured as a result of the incident.
In addition to this lengthy disciplinary history, Wilson has been involved in a number of other plays which could have, and likely should have, resulted in disciplinary action:
1. 12/17/2013 - Wilson delivered a dangerous hit on Brayden Schenn while he was in a defenseless position along the boards. Luckily, Schenn didn't suffer a severe injury as a result of the play.
2. 4/21/2015 - During a playoff series against the New York Islanders, Wilson delivered a questionable hit to the head of Lubomir Visnovsky, who was injured as a result of the play, and forced to miss the rest of the series.
3. 12/16/2015 - Tom Wilson delivered a questionable check to the head of Curtis Lazar. Thankfully, Lazar was not seriously injured on the play but did receive minor injuries which caused him to miss a few days.
4. 12/10/2015 - Wilson boarded Brian Campbell, who was not seriously injured on the play.
5. 4/1/2016 - Wilson delivered a potentially dangerous hit on Nikita Zadorov behind the net, leaving him concussed.
6. 12/31/2016 - Wilson delivered a hit from behind on John Moore, forcing him into the boards. Moore had to be stretchered off of the ice and taken to a nearby hospital. He ultimately missed 17 games with a concussion as a result of the hit.
7. 4/12/2018 - Wilson delivered a questionable check from behind to the head of Alexander Wennberg while he was in a defenseless position along the board. Wennberg was forced to miss time with an undisclosed upper body injury.
8. 4/29/2018 - Wilson delivered a questionable check to the head of Brian Dumoulin, who was forced to miss the rest of the game but avoided serious injury.
9. 5/28/2018 - Wilson delivered a blind-side hit on Jonathan Marchessault, who was thankfully not seriously injured on the play.
10. 11/30/2018 - Wilson checked Brett Seney from behind, making some contact with his head. Thankfully, Seney did not sustain a serious injury on the play.
11. 5/3/2021 - Wilson grabbed Artermi Panarin by the hair and threw him to the ice. The incident resulted in a lower body injury for Panarin, who was forced to miss the rest of the season (3 games) as a result.
(See video above about incident with Buchnevich)
To summarize, Tom Wilson has been involved in at least 19 incidents which were either decidedly or debatably dangerous. As a result of these plays, he has seriously injured at least 10 players, with at least 5 of those injuries being concussions. These plays have resulted in him being suspended by the NHL 5 times, and fined by the NHL 2 times (as one of his three fines was for embellishment). With this being said, there are several more observations to make.
First, Tom Wilson has clearly demonstrated a pattern of reckless behavior that demonstrates a blatant disregard for the health and safety of his fellow competitors.
Second, Tom Wilson has clearly failed to learn from his past mistakes and continues to play in a way that threatens the safety of his competitors.
Third, on several occasions Wilson has seemed to be proud of his actions, such as in his most recent incident against the Rangers
Fourth, since Tom Wilson has clearly made little to no attempt to alter his style of play it is only a matter of time before he seriously injures another player. Given the nature of Wilson's style of play, it is entirely possible that the next injury he causes could end a fellow player's career or worse.
Fifth, while Tom Tom Wilson is an undeniably skilled hockey player, the NHL and the Department of Player Safety cannot take Wilson's skill into account when determining how to appropriately discipline him.
Sixth, from 2011 to 2015, a roughly five-year period, Raffi Torres (the most recent player to rack up a significant disciplinary history with the NHL) received five suspensions from the Department of Player Safety for dangerous play, with the last suspension being for 41 games. Torres also received a 25 game suspension (which was eventually reduced to 21 games), in addition to three shorter suspensions. Similarly from 2017 until 2021, also a five year period, Tom Wilson has been suspended by the Department of Player Safety five times. However, Wilson's longest suspension was for just 20 games (which was reduced to 14 games) with his next longest suspension being just seven games. The Department of Player Safety has clearly let Wilson off the hook with far too little punishment for far too long.
To conclude, Tom Wilson is a menace who needs to be stopped. His continued pattern of highly dangerous behavior has injured far too many players all ready. Wilson continues to show that he has failed to learn from prior discipline, and has even seemed pleased with his reckless actions on multiple occasions. If he is allowed to continue to play without significant discipline that forces him to change is style, it is only a matter of time before Wilson seriously injures another player. There is historical precedent for suspending a player in a very similar situation to Wilson's for 41 games following a fifth suspension in a five-year period, and Wilson's skill level simply cannot be considered in deciding to treat him differently from other, less-skilled players. Tom Wilson has been let off the hook by the Department of Player Safety far too many times and it is time that we as fans demand that, for the sake of the integrity of the game of ice hockey and for the sake of the safety of our favorite athletes, the NHL finally do something to fix this longstanding issue. If the NHL truly cares about the health and safety of its players than it MUST discipline Tom Wilson in such a way that he is forced to avoid dangerous plays. Tom Wilson needs to be suspended for 41 games, with his next disciplinary issue for a dangerous hit (regardless of the severity) resulting in an automatic 82 game suspension, and his next after that (regardless of the severity) resulting in an automatic lifetime ban from the NHL.
Amendment: In the days following the incident against the Rangers Zack MacEwen was suspended by the NHL for kneeing Darnell Nurse (A link to the incident is included below this paragraph. In describing their decision to suspend McEwen the DoPS said that "...the concept of intentionally kneeing a vulnerable player in the head is simply unacceptable. This is not a hockey play." The double standard which this decision and language presents is simply insurmountable. It is clear the the Department of Player Safety, as it is currently structured is failing in its fundamental purpose. It is time for the NHL to fundamentally change the DoPS in order to allow it to more successfully achieve its ultimate goals. In order to preserve the health and safety of NHL players, this simply MUST be done.