Capitals RW Tom Wilson's 20-game suspension upheld

Capitals RW Tom Wilson's 20-game suspension upheld

Capitals RW Tom Wilson's 20-game suspension upheld

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson's 20-game suspension for an illegal check to an opponent's head in a preseason game has been upheld by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

A former first-round draft pick of the Capitals, the 24-year-old right winger was ejected from Washington's final preseason game on September 30 after delivering a high hit to Oskar Sundqvist of the St. Louis Blues.

Bettman said Wilson's main point of contact was with Sundqvist's head and that head contact was avoidable; that, coupled with Wilson's history, led to the suspension being upheld.

Bettman heard Wilson's appeal at a hearing in NY on October 18.

Wilson, 24, signed a six-year contract worth $31 million in July after logging a career-high 14 goals and 21 assists in 78 games last season.

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The right winger can now appeal to a neutral arbitrator.

He is eligible to return November 21 when the Capitals host the Blackhawks. He was granted "non-roster player" status by the National Hockey League, which allowed the Capitals to make roster moves without worrying about Wilson using up one of 23 roster spots during his suspension.

Wilson will forfeit $1.26-million U.S. in salary if the appeal is rejected.

The polarizing Stanley Cup champion has missed eight games this season.

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