Monday, March 8, 2021

Tom Wilson Jersey Card

(team links go to sponsored Amazon products, player links go to related pages on my blog, news links go to source pages)

Fucking Tom Wilson.

A former first round draft pick (16th overall in 2012, by the Washington Capitals), Wilson is a hard-working, very talented and physically strong power forward, who at 6'4" and 220 pounds ranks among the most difficult to move from the front of the net or along the boards. He has a decent shot that could have him hit the 30-goal mark a couple of times before he retires and some 20-24 goals for four more seasons at least. He's pretty much the halfway mark between 1986-94 era Cam Neely (a Hall Of Famer who reached the 50-goal mark three times in the high-scoring late 1980s) and 2011-13 Milan Lucic. Perhaps he is even a fine human being off the ice.

He also has a habit of delivering questionable, dangerous and illegal hits such as this one on unsuspecting Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo: One thing's for certain, many hockey observers are getting fed up with one aspect of his game: his habit of continuously crossing the line that separates "tough" and "predatory". While I agree with the Sports Illustrated/The Hockey News article on the fact that the NHL was lenient towards him before his first suspension in 2017 and that instead of now standing at five (plus a couple of fines), he should probably have seven to ten on his record at this point, I, however, would like to commend him on the fact that he hadn't been suspended in a little over two years. He hasn't done as admirable a job of keeping his nose clean as Brad Marchand, but he has trended in a better direction, which is why I'm satisfied with this being a seven-game suspension instead of ten.

I also disagree with SI/THN's assessment that this hit should have been reviewed under the "hit to the head" rule instead of "boarding", because the initial contact is above the heart, between the shoulder and neck - not the cleanest of hits, but not a direct, unequivocal hit to the head either; it's the follow-through that has Carlo's head crashing in the glass. I do think the league has missed the boat on many occasions this season, particularly early on, to set the tone and demand clean play, with a handful of players deserving of at least a game or two getting a pass instead.

There's something about Wilson's attitude that has me thinking I may like him on my team - a sentiment I absolutely do not share about Marchand, for instance, despite his rehabilitation into a true star player - but he really needs to stop crossing that line and let up when he sees he's nearing a face, just like all players should let up when they see an opponent's numbers on their backs.

I have a card of his that I traded for last year, #SS-TW from Upper Deck's 2019-20 SP Game-Used collection and Showcase Standouts sub-set:
It shows him wearing an NHLPA uniform based on the New York Rangers' classic white garbs and features two swatches that are believed to be from that jersey. Both the front and back claim it's from the 2017 NHLPA Rookie Showcase event/photoshoot, but Wilson played for the Capitals in the 2012-13 playoffs, and his true rookie season was in 2013-14... three full years before the showcase they claim he was in. Also, this is what he looked like in 2017 (courtesy of Wikipedia):
That face - and the facial hair - looks much older than what's shown on the card. My guess is he was actually in the 2012 or 2013 showcase.

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