The Saturday Slate is a weekly discussion or platform where members of Win Column Sports provide their respective opinions and thoughts on an event that took place in the prior week. Additionally, there is also a running pool amongst the contributors based on our picks for Saturday’s match-ups. This week, the Win Column panel discusses the NHL action on October 27th
Another week in the NHL, another week where Tom Wilson is creating headlines. The newly contracted Washington Capital first line right wing recently got suspended 20 games for his hit on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. Tom Wilson filed an official appeal with the Commissioner of the NHL Gary Bettman and just this past day got his appeal declined and the 20-game suspension upheld. Wilson and his agent have recently announced the Wilson will be filing an official appeal through the NHLPA to a third party arbitrator to attempt to have his suspension reduced. It’s worked for players in the past, most notably with Wideman when he got his 20-game suspension for hitting a referee in the back reduced to 10. Do you think third party arbitration is good for the league? Is it weird that the NHLPA always seems to side with the offender when they should be defending the victim as well? The boys discuss in this week’s Saturday Slate.
Look, Wilson’s hit was dirty and we all know it. I think the suspension was of a perfect length; the NHL needs to take head injuries seriously, especially given the recent findings in former NHL enforcers. While hockey is a physical game and by no means do I think hitting is an issue, players do need to be cognizant of their actions. Regardless of his intent, Wilson’s hit was reckless and frankly could have been much, much worse for the recipient of the hit, Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. While some may think the punishment is overkill, I think a message has to be sent that reckless hits can’t be tolerated.
I find it odd how the NHLPA is supposed to fight for all players, however, they are always going to the end of the world to reduce suspensions for players when they are hurting other players. Now obviously as a Capitals fan, I’m probably a bit biased when I say this, but Wilson’s hit didn’t deserve a 20-game suspension. I think it rightfully deserved 10-12. I’m hoping that’s what he’ll get through the third-party arbitrator. I think it’s fantastic that the league and the NHLPA use a third party arbitrator to resolve conflicts and appeals like this because it doesn’t allow either side to control all the power.
In short. It’s weird how the NHLPA never fights for the victim, but it’s good the NHL uses a third party arbitrator to resolve appeals that get escalated.
I believe NHL Player Safety normally does a good job when handing out punishments (fines, suspensions). Wilson’s instance is seen as one of these good jobs; 20-games is a bit steep in my opinion. However, with the circumstances and Wilson’s profile, it didn’t come as a surprise. I’m on the fence in regards to my position on whether or not suspension appeals via 3rd party arbitrator is a good or a bad thing for the NHL. It certainly gives a suspended player an opportunity to make a case with conclusive evidence in order to shorten suspensions. However, in turn, I would sooner see Player Safety become consistent and refined and do away with suspension appeals altogether.
WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
|Panthers vs. Devils||Devils||Panthers||Panthers|
|Islanders vs. Flyers||Flyers||Flyers||Islanders|
|Oilers vs. Predators||Oilers||Predators||Predators|
|Capitals vs. Flames||Capitals||Capitals||Capitals|
|Canadiens vs. Bruins||Bruins||Bruins||Canadiens|
|Jets vs. Maple Leafs||Maple Leafs||Jets||Maple Leafs|
|Sabres vs. Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets||Sabres|
|Avalanche vs. Wild||Avalanche||Avalanche||Wild|
|Blackhawks vs. Blues||Blues||Blues||Blues|
|Lightning vs. Coyotes||Lightning||Lightning||Lightning|
|Penguins vs. Canucks||Penguins||Penguins||Canucks|
Records Thus Far:
- Spencer: (14-25), Last Week: (7-6), Winning Percentage: (36%)
- Ben: (20-19), Last Week: (5-8), Winning Percentage: (51%)
- Arik: (16-23), Last Week: (4-9), Winning Percentage: (41%)