Gary Bettman denies Tom Wilson’s appeal, upholds NHL’s 20-game suspension for Capitals winger

The NHL laid down the law with Tom Wilson when it suspended the penalty-prone Washington Capitals winger on Oct. 3, and now it’s laying it down again.

A week after the NHL Players Association appealed Wilson’s 20-game ban on behalf of the player, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the ruling, forcing Wilson to remain off the ice until Nov. 21.

A former first-round draft pick of the Capitals, the 24-year-old right winger was ejected from Washington’s final preseason game on Sept. 30 after delivering a high hit to Oskar Sundqvist of the St. Louis Blues. Sundqvist sustained upper-body injuries from the blow, while Wilson earned his hefty suspension as the NHL deemed the hit an “avoidable” target of the head area.

His 20-game suspension, worth nearly a quarter of the 2018-19 season, was the largest since Raffi Torres was banned 41 games in 2015-16, but it marked Wilson’s fourth suspension in his past 105 games. The NHL acknowledged Wilson’s recurring issue upon suspending him, calling it “an unprecedented frequency of suspensions in the history of the department of player safety.”

The polarizing Stanley Cup champion has missed eight games this season. According to Sportsnet, his absence will cost him $1.26 million from the six-year, $31 million contract he signed with Washington over the summer.

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