In hockey’s golden age of violence, each team had a goon (or two, or three) that menaced the opposition and frequently fought. The NHL is thankfully past that.
But now, there’s a new kind of goon.
He’s personified by Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals.
Wilson will drop the gloves, but that’s not his specialty.
Wilson’s calling card is targeting the heads of foes with every ounce of force his 6-foot-4, 218-pound frame can muster. He’s been suspended three times for questionable hits. Another ban is forthcoming for this blow to the melon of St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist in an exhibition game this past Sunday.
Why would you do that at all, let alone in the preseason? Looks like sadism and predatory assault never take a holiday.
Wilson won’t stop. The NHL won’t stop him. Briefly deter him, perhaps.
The Capitals won’t stop him. Wilson’s violent nature helped them win the Stanley Cup last season.
Since Wilson is unlikely to target my head, my outrage quickly gives way to resignation, and sympathy for those targeted.
But, in lieu of forcing Wilson and his ilk out of hockey or eliminating the problem otherwise, let’s at least cut out the bull***t.
Wilson says nonsense like, “I’ve always prided myself in being an honest player.” He is clearly anything but.
After Wilson knocks a foe senseless, he often spews, “Obviously, that was not my intent.” But obviously, it was.
Wilson is a sociopath and a predator. Through his actions, Wilson has told us what he is. We should believe him.
We are forced to tolerate. But never accept, let alone admire.