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Tom Wilson’s Reputation

from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,

Tom Wilson has movie-star looks, a $31 million contract, a Stanley Cup ring and a charity to support families who need it, and he is in an impossible spot. Each night, he laces up his skates and plays on the same line as Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom — perhaps the two best players in Capitals history — because he is skilled enough to warrant that job. Each night he skates that 220-pound frame at speeds more regularly reached by much smaller men, and he evaluates in real time whether he should power into an opposing player or pull back.

The choices are stark. Hit, and he’ll almost certainly be questioned. Pull back, and he’ll question himself.

“You have a reputation,” he said. “You have to deal with it.”

Wilson deals with it every day. There was a time when players who dish out hits the way Wilson can were valued in the NHL rather than vilified. That time is not the dawn of 2020. Since he entered the league as a 19-year-old rookie in 2013, no player has accumulated more penalty minutes; indeed, no one is within 100 of him. He has been suspended four times, including once in the playoffs and once for a hit in the preseason that cost him the first 14 games after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup. In a social media era, he regularly has to turn away from Twitter, where he finds the following — and worse....

“Letting Tom Wilson stay in the Nhl is a [expletive] joke.”

“Tom Wilson is such a piece of human [expletive] garbage. What a buffoon.”

Those are tweets from one night in the life of Tom Wilson.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+wilson

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com