Tom Wilson suspended 7 games for hit on Brandon Carlo

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Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been suspended seven games for boarding Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo Friday night, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced.

The play occurred late in the first period of what ended up being a 5-1 Boston win. Carlo was engaged in a battle with Jakub Vrana in the corner and was in a vulnerable, defenseless position when Wilson lined him up from a good dozen feet away and drove hard through Carlo’s forearm and into the side of his head, smashing Carlo’s head into the glass in the process.

Carlo needed help getting off the ice and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he spent the night before being released Saturday morning. It is unclear how much time he will miss.

The refs did not call a penalty at the time, but it was clear that the league intended to take action when they announced that Wilson would have an in-person hearing (via Zoom) -- a measure generally reserved for plays they think warrant a suspension of longer than five games.

“With the puck bouncing in Carlo’s skates as he attempts to locate it, Wilson approaches from outside his field of vision and delivers a high, hard hit that makes direct contact with Carlo’s head, driving it violently into the glass and causing an injury,” the league explains in its video explaining Wilson’s punishment.

“This is a player with a substantial disciplinary record taking advantage of an opponent who is in a defenseless position, and doing so with significant force,” the league adds.

This is the fifth suspension of Wilson’s career. His most recent prior to this was his longest -- 20 games in Oct. 2018 for a hit to the head St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist.