Tom Wilson Could Play vs. Wild After Suspension Reduced to 14 Games

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2018

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2018, file photo, Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) is escorted by an official off the ice after he checked St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist, background, during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Washington. Wilson has had his 20-game suspension reduced to 14 by a neutral arbitrator and is eligible to play immediately. Wilson has already served 16 games of his suspension for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis forward Oskar Sundqvist in each team’s preseason finale. The ruling by Shyam Das allows Wilson to return as soon as Tuesday night, Nov. 13, 2018, at Minnesota, and the 24-year-old will recoup $378,049 of the $1.26 million he initially forfeited as part of the suspension. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson's suspension for his preseason hit to the head of the St. Louis Blues' Oskar Sundqvist has been reduced from 20 games to 14, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

NHL Player Safety @NHLPlayerSafety

Washington’s Tom Wilson suspended twenty games for an Illegal Check to the Head on St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist. https://t.co/ojQ4yN6oFN

The league released an official statement on the ruling:

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

NHL and NHLPA statement on Tom Wilson suspension. Complete arbitrator decision: https://t.co/5JXYsGsYbx https://t.co/8s5l6LtxXJ

Wilson is eligible to play in Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Wild. The team wasted little time in welcoming him back:

Washington Capitals @Capitals

Welcome back, @tom_wilson! #4️⃣3️⃣ #ALLCAPS https://t.co/S6pHZm4e10

He has already missed 16 games, and while he can't get those two contests back, he can recoup that salary.

As ESPN.com's Greg Wyshynski noted at the time of the initial ban, a 20-game suspension would have cost Wilson $1,260,162.60. While that total will be lower, it will still be significant.

Meanwhile, the hit kept Sundqvist off the ice for the start of the regular season. He missed St. Louis' first eight games because of upper-body injuries.

Wilson has been in trouble with the league office several times over the past year-plus. He has been suspended four times since September 2017, including a three-game ban for breaking an opponent's jaw during the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.

His hit on Columbus Blue Jackets center Alexander Wennberg during the first round of the 2017-18 postseason was also reviewed but did not garner a suspension. Wennberg miss timed as the result of a concussion sustained during the hit.

Wilson's return should provided a needed boost for Washington, which has gone 7-6-3 (17 points) in his absence. The 24-year-old recorded 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points in 78 games last season, helping the Capitals win the Stanley Cup with five goals and 10 assists in 21 postseason contests.