Tom Wilson was ejected for charging Brayden Schenn last night. Despite the fact that the referees handed the rookie 20 minutes in PIMs and kicked him out of the game, both head coach Adam Oates and team captain Alex Ovechkin called the hit clean. While no one expects the two to pile onto Wilson, their comments after the game will likely leave a sour taste in the mouths of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Katie Carrera of The Washington Post picked up tidbits from both sources after the Capitals fells to the Flyers by a 5-2 final. Oates had this to say about Wilson’s hit:
I thought it was a clean hit. I really do, I watched it live, saw it on the Jumbotron, watched it again between periods.. He had changed. He went across the ice, he slowed down, he saw Schenn come out of the pile with the puck, took two quick strides. Schenn saw him at the last second and [Wilson] hit him in the arm. He’s a big strong guy, he hit him hard, yeah. To me, it’s a clean hit. I don’t even think it’s a penalty at all.
The hit in question…
There are certainly two quick strides there, and Oates is correct when he says that it’s a hard hit. Schenn wasn’t able to get to the bench under his own power and was helped off of the ice by trainers.
Ovechkin echoed his coach’s statement:
To be honest with you, I don’t think it was a dirty play. He saw the hit coming, he turned, and Willy is a big boy. It’s always dangerous out there, it’s hockey. When you get hit, you have to be ready, especially at the boards. I don’t think he was ready, I think he was going to turn, but Willy just finished his check.
Schenn was not able to return, and there are no rumblings of a disciplinary hearing for Wilson at this time.
#CapitalsTalk I’m told ‘nothing is scheduled yet’ on Tom Wilson’s hit on Brayden Schenn. Craig Berube said last night Schenn looked OK
— Chuck Gormley (@ChuckGormleyCSN) December 18, 2013
The hit will likely take an already gruesome rivalry between the Capitals and Flyers to the next level. They don’t play each other again until March 2.