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Hextall on Hockey: NHL made right call in Tom Wilson controversy

It’s not popular but it needs to be said, so here it is: the case for Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and why the NHL made the right call by not suspending him.

The Wilson takedown of the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin was during a rather large post-whistle scrum. At one point, Wilson had three players on top of him.

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It’s important to note that Wilson didn’t drag Panarin into the scrum — Panarin chose to enter by jumping on Wilson’s back.

Which means Wilson didn’t engage an unwilling player into a physical situation and then down to the ice.

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Players have been twisted down hard to the ice before during a scrum without suspension.

The punch was an infraction by Wilson and yes, cheap, but it’s no different than Sidney Crosby pushing the head of the Flyers’ Travis Konecny into the ice during a scrum of their own on Tuesday night. It’s a penalty and left at that — as it should be.

It’s important to remember that the NHL reviews a play to see if it’s suspendable before taking into account the player who committed the act.

If you took ‘Wilson’ off the sweater and just watched that scrum unfold, would it be a suspension? No. It would be a penalty and we would move on.

The fact Panarin has a lower-body injury is an unfortunate result of the scrum that he entered of his own free will.

We have to accept the results of our actions: Panarin an injury. Wilson a fine.

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