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@CraigCustance: Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was ejected from Wednesday night's game for his hit on Curtis Lazar in the third period of Washington's 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Wilson hasn't been suspended for a hit during his career, but his reputation as a borderline player is growing, and after watching many views of this hit you can't help but wonder if that reputation played a role in the match penalty he earned. Guessing right on how the league feels about a borderline hit can be a challenge, but this one doesn't look worthy of suspension at all. If I'm Capitals GM Brian McLellan, I'm working overtime this morning to make sure the match penalty is rescinded. After the game, Caps coach Barry Trotz wonder whether it was an illegal hit at all, with the point of contact being the hip. That's an important point, and I think he's right. I'm on Trotz's side here. What about you guys?
@DownGoesBrown: What's interesting here is that the play really looks like more of a collision than a hit. Wilson sees the contact coming and braces himself, but he doesn't launch himself into it like we've seen him do plenty of times in the past. You hate to see Lazar hurt again, and we all hope he's OK, but the contact to the head isn't all that clear in any replay I've seen, and you wonder whether this isn't just an unfortunate case of a big guy colliding with a smaller guy who doesn't see it coming. Wilson got a match penalty, and given the importance of player safety, I don't actually have a huge problem with the referees occasionally erring on the side of caution and giving five minutes on a borderline hit, especially if it's a guy with a reputation like Wilson has. But with the benefit of slow motion and multiple angles, I don't think the league hands out further discipline, and I agree with Craig that it wouldn't be a surprise if they rescind the match penalty.
@ESPNJoeyMac: I've looked at different angles of this hit and I don't see intent to injure. I agree with Sean, I think this is just a case of a bad collision. Given Wilson's reputation, the refs made the right call on the ice, but I don't think there will be further discipline by the league. We've seen other players in the league who have a reputation for late and illegal hits and have a short leash with officials, and I believe that is the case in this situation. Of course, both coaches were stating their cases after the game, and while I disagree with Barry Trotz's statement that a penalty should not have been called at all, the refs got it right assessing a match penalty and that should be the end of it. Hopefully, Lazar is not seriously injured.
@ESPN_Burnside: You know I am a Judge Roy Bean kind of guy when it comes to supplemental discipline, but I have to wonder whether this is a situation in which on-ice officials were taking special note of Wilson because they know about his past (think of his devastating hit on Lubomir Visnovsky in the playoffs last season) as opposed to the actual mechanics of the hit. But I also think it's important that on-ice officials continue to have a measure of impact on the game without having every single twitch and sneeze overanalyzed by the league, let alone fans and the media. Let the call stand, regardless of whether it was warranted, and then move on. Wilson has to learn that's just his lot in life.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Wilson has lost the ability to get the benefit of the doubt, because of his style. He's had a number of borderline hits in his career and the refs aren't ever going to give him the 50-50 call. His physicality and the way he plays on the edge is something the Capitals value, but he's got to learn to not cross that line. I didn't think the hit on Lazar was that bad, actually, but it came in the same game in which he had earlier hammered Kyle Turris, too. He's public enemy No. 1 for many NHL teams. And the Caps love him.
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