Tom Wilson faces lengthy suspension for slash on Noah Gregor
(Photo Credit: Alexander Jonesi, All-Pro Reels/ Wikimedia Commons.)

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson is once again in hot water with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

The 29-year-old has been offered an in-person hearing following a brutal slash to the face of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Noah Gregor during Wednesday night’s game.

The incident occurred midway through the third period. Gregor was skating towards the puck ahead of Wilson when the Capitals enforcer took what appeared to be a one-handed golf swing, violently striking Gregor in the face with his stick.

Gregor immediately crumpled to the ice in pain as blood poured from his face. Wilson was assessed a double-minor penalty for high-sticking on the play.

Given Wilson’s lengthy history of suspensions and fines, many believe he is facing a severe punishment this time around. The in-person hearing offered by the NHL suggests Wilson could be suspended for six or more games. He has already been suspended five times and fined three times in his controversial career.

Wilson’s most notable ban came in 2018 when he was suspended for 20 games for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist Other incidents include a 7-game suspension for boarding Boston’s Brandon Carlo in 2021 and a 4-game suspension for boarding Blues forward Sammy Blais in 2017.

Some of the longest suspensions in modern NHL history include:

  • Raffi Torres’ 41-game ban in 2015 for a hit to the head
  • Chris Simon’s 30-game ban in 2007 for stomping on an opponent with his skate
  • Marty McSorley’s year-long suspension in 2000 for slashing Donald Brashear in the head with his stick

While those incidents were even more severe, Wilson’s slash on Gregor was also extremely dangerous and reckless. Intentionally swinging your stick at an opponent’s unprotected face is completely unacceptable. The NHL needs to come down hard to send a message that this type of play will not be tolerated.

A date and time for Wilson’s hearing has not yet been announced, but it will likely take place in the next few days. Gregor’s status moving forward is unclear, but he will almost certainly miss some time after taking a stick directly to the face at high speed.

As the hockey world awaits the NHL’s ruling, this much is clear – Tom Wilson is facing a very lengthy suspension for his latest dangerous play. Given his extensive history, don’t be surprised if it approaches or even exceeds 10 games.

The league needs to take a hard stance to prevent Wilson from continuing to put his fellow players at risk with reckless acts of violence.