The Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans at PPG Paints Arena tonight are absolutely furious and they are letting the National Hockey League officials overseeing this game hear about it.
The Penguins are facing off against the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of their second round series in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night and after a relatively quiet first period things have really picked up in the second. Not only have both teams scored two goals a piece in the second frame but once again we have a major controversy surrounding Washington Capitals enforcer Tom Wilson.
Wilson was already under the microscope, at least as far as the Penguins and their fans are concerned, as a result of an ugly hit he delivered to Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin earlier in this series, and on Tuesday night he didn't help endear himself to Penguisn fans. The hit he delivered on Dumoulin was ruled a legal hit by the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety despite the fact that there was obvious contact to the head, something that left fans in Pittsburgh quite angry, and on Tuesday night Wilson laid out another Penguins player.
This time it was 23 year old Penguins rookie Zachary Aston-Reese who was on the receiving end of a thunderous body check from the Capitals enforcer, and once again it was a hit that resulted in significant contact with the head. Much like the hit on Dumoulin you would be hard pressed to make a conclusive argument regarding whether or not Wilson intended to target the head on this play, it looked like he was lining up Aston-Reese for a textbook body check, but like the hit on Dumoulin the results of the hit were undeniable.
Aston-Reese collapsed in a heap almost as soon as Wilson made contact with him, and it's unsurprising when you consider just how violent the collision was. The hit was so violent in fact that the impact lifted Wilson off of his feet and sent him flying back into the Washington Capitals bench, Wilson however seemed to be perfectly fine after the hit. Such was not the case for Aston Reese however and not only did he leave his gloves on the ice as he skated back to the Penguins bench with help from the trainers, but he left traces of his own blood on the ice as well.
Aston Reese looked like he could barely move after the hit and when looking at the way that the Penguins trainers were holding onto him, as they escorted him down the tunnel and back to the Penguins locker room, it seemed like they were seriously concern he could fall over at any moment. Needless to say the fans at PPG Paints Arena wanted a penalty called on the play, in fact they likely wanted a lot more than that, but after convening for several long moments the NHL officials on the ice decided that no penalty would be awarded to Wilson.
The Penguins will again look to the Department of Player Safety for some justice regarding Wilson, and it will be interesting to see how they choose to rule on this hit, especially if Aston-Reese is out for any length of time.