Paulsen: Tom Wilson could miss significant time with knee injury


One of the more challenging obstacles for hockey fans during the Stanley Cup Playoffs is grasping the severity of injuries, when clubs customarily release so few details about those injuries. An upper-body injury could be anything from a nick on the elbow to a full-blown fractured humerus.

We'll find out after the playoffs.

This is where Capitals fans now stand with winger Tom Wilson, who missed Game 2 with an undisclosed 'lower-body injury' on Thursday, an injury that forced his early exit from Game 1 and the Capitals to list Wilson as being 'day to day.' Wilson was even said to be a 'game-time decision' ahead of Game 2; they decided against him playing.

Now, Caps fans are left to wonder when Wilson, a pivotal offensive and power play contributor, might return in Washington's series against the Florida Panthers, the highest-scoring offense in the NHL which throttled the Caps 5-1 to even their first-round playoff series at one game apiece Thursday night.

To that end, Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan is hearing the fear on Wilson's undisclosed injury — which the club continues to monitor closely — is that it's not good news.

"No Tom Wilson is a disaster," Paulsen said Friday. "And I told you yesterday, I don't think he's playing again this series. I've heard he's got a pretty serious knee injury that he's dealing with and it's gonna be a while. So, my guess is we've seen him for the last time — certainly in this series, maybe for the playoffs."

"I hope that that's not the case, but that's a huge deal," Paulsen added. "They needed him last night. They were taking big hits and guys were taking runs at different Capitals. Garnet Hathaway was trying to be tough, but they just don't have enough of that without Tom Wilson. Not to mention, they scored one goal on the power play. They didn't have many opportunities for the last 30 minutes of the game and Willy's a big part of their offense."

Paulsen wouldn't characterize what he's heard on Wilson as a report, per se, but rather "a little birdie chirping" that could wind up being correct.

"I've had a little birdie chirping. I do not expect to see Tom Wilson in this series," he said one day earlier. "I'm not convinced we see Tom Wilson early next series. This whole 'maybe tomorrow' thing, let's all run and see if he's skating on the ice in the morning... The person that told me what they told me could be wrong. I don't think that's a thing.

"I think this is a 'hopefully this run goes long enough and maybe we can see what happens a few weeks from now' type of thing. Again, that's what I'm hearing. I'm not going hard in the paint. No reports. I don't need a bunch of people on citing 106.7 The Fan. What I'm telling you is just a little birdie chirping, a little rumbling, a little thing that I heard. I'm not going to go into specifics or details."

Paulsen importantly left open the possibility of Wilson returning.