Late in the second period of Tuesday night’s contest between the Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals, Knights winger Ryan Reaves laid a massive hit on Washington forward Tom Wilson that knocked the 24-year-old out of the game with an apparent head injury. Reaves was assessed a match penalty as a result of the hit.
Reaves’ hit on Wilson had received a fair amount of criticism following the contest, but it was confirmed Wednesday that Vegas’ hard-hitting forward would not face any supplemental discipline from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Ryan Reaves’ hit on Tom Wilson last night, which resulted in a major penalty/game misconduct for interference and also knocked Wilson out of the game with injury, will not result in any supplementary discipline by the NHL.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 5, 2018
“It wasn’t a bad hit at all,” said Knights head coach Gerard Gallant after Wednesday’s practice. “For me, that was a clean hit. In the rules today, that’s a clean hit. He did nothing wrong, he didn’t have head contact, the guy hadn’t had the puck, he moved the puck. It wasn’t a big interference penalty, usually they say 0.6 seconds for interference. It was less than that.”
After Tuesday night’s game, Capitals head coach Todd Reirden told reporters that he believed Reaves had targeted Wilson, as the two had convened numerous times ahead of the hit that ended both players’ nights early.
From Reaves’ perspective, the hit was legal and not worthy of supplemental discipline or a game misconduct.
“I think everyone in this locker room knew it was a clean hit,” said Reaves. “I think the call was made because they didn’t want the game to get out of hand. Wrong call, but the boys handled it very well.”
Wilson delivered a similar hit on New Jersey Devils forward Brett Seney on Nov. 30. After Seney had distributed the puck, Wilson laid a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on the 22-year-old from behind. Seney went to the locker room immediately after the collision, but did return to the game in the third period. Like Reaves, Wilson was handed a match penalty, but did not receive any further discipline from the NHL.