NHLPA files appeal of Wilson's 20-game suspension

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, on ice at back center, during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game, in Washington. Wilson has been suspended 20 games by the NHL for a blindside hit to the head of an opponent during a preseason game. Wilson's punishment was announced Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, just hours before the reigning Stanley Cup champion Capitals were to raise their banner and open their title defense by hosting the Boston Bruins to begin the regular season. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

The NHL Players' Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Tom Wilson after the Capitals forward was suspended 20 games for an illegal check to the head

WASHINGTON — The NHL Players' Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Tom Wilson after the Capitals forward was suspended 20 games for an illegal check to the head.

The NHLPA announced the expected move Friday, which had to happen within 48 hours of the Department of Player Safety suspending Wilson. Commissioner Gary Bettman will hear the appeal, though the date has not been determined.

Wilson was suspended for his hit on Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in Washington's preseason finale. It is the fourth suspension of Wilson's career, all coming in the past 13 months, and will cost him over $1.26 million in salary as a repeat offender if it's upheld.

This is the seventh appeal Bettman will hear since 2012. He upheld bans of 10 games for Antoine Vermette in 2017, 20 for Dennis Wideman in 2016 and 15 games for Shawn Thornton and 10 games for Patrick Kaleta in 2013. He reduced Daniel Carcillo's 10-game suspension to six in 2014 and Raffi Torres' 25-game suspension to 21 in 2012.

If Bettman upholds this suspension, Wilson and the NHLPA could appeal to a neutral arbitrator. Wideman's ban for striking an official was reduced to 10 games by an arbitrator, though he had already served 19 by the time that decision was rendered.

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