Capitals RW TJ Oshie hopeful Tom Wilson's 20-game suspension will be reduced

Capitals right winger TJ Oshie is hoping to have teammate Tom Wilson back on the ice soon.

Wilson was suspended 20 games by the NHL after his hit on Blues center Oskar Sundqvist in a preseason game Sept. 30. His appeal is set for Thursday.

“We miss Tom,” Oshie told Omnisport in a phone interview Tuesday in association with M&M’s. “He’s younger than most of us but he’s kind of the big brother of the team.

“He keeps other team’s enforcers in check and he can change the momentum of a game with either a hit or a forecheck or whatever it is, so he’s greatly missed, and we’re hoping that they can cut him some slack here and take off some of those games.”

Wilson’s suspension is his fourth in his last 105 games. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety said Wilson’s “unprecedented frequency of suspensions in the history of the Department of Player Safety,” was the reasoning for the 20-game suspension. 

The NHLPA filed an appeal on Wilson’s behalf after it was announced he would be suspended for his hit on Sundqvist. His teammates were vocal in support of Wilson after they learned of the punishment.

“Honestly, I think it’s garbage,” winger Devante Smith-Pelly told ESPN. “We watched a video from the league saying what hits are good and which ones aren’t. They showed some hits that were way worse than that … maybe not in force, but as it regards to the head, that were so-called ‘allowed.’ I guess he just has a different rule book, and I think it’s garbage, honestly.”

Wilson, 24, signed a six-year, $31 million deal with the Capitals before the season. If the suspension is upheld, Wilson stands to lose $1.26 million. 

If Wilson’s appeal is denied by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the winger can once again appeal to an independent arbitrator.

Last week Predators winger Austin Watson had his suspension for “unacceptable off-ice conduct” reduced from 27 games to 18 by an independent arbitrator.