Oates on Wilson: "I don't even think it's a penalty"
PHILADELPHIA – Capitals general manager George McPhee said he thought Tom Wilson’s second period hit on Flyers center Brayden Schenn was “a great hit” and that Schenn was “too slow” to get out of the way.
Capitals coach Adam Oates thought Wilson’s hit was “clean” and didn’t think it deserved a penalty, let alone a five-minute major that led to two power-play goals in the Flyers’ 5-2 win over the Caps at the Wells Fargo Center.
Alex Ovechkin was just as angry about the five-minute charging major assessed to Wilson, the Caps’ 6-foot-4, 210-pound rookie.
“To be honest with you I don’t think it was a dirty play,” Ovechkin said. “He saw him coming. He turned and Willy’s a big boy. It’s always dangerous play out there, but it’s hockey.
“When you get a hit, you have to be ready, especially today. I don’t think [Schenn] was ready. Willy finished his check and I don’t think it was two minutes. It was a good hit.”
NHL Director of Player Saftey Brendan Shanahan is likely to review Wilson’s hit on Schenn, which occurred with 4:43 remaining in the second period with the teams locked in a 2-2 tie.
“I thought it was a clean hit,” Oates said. “I really do. I watched it live; saw it on the Jumbotron; I watched it again between periods. [Wilson] went across the ice, he slowed down, he saw Schenn come out of the pile with the puck, he took two quick strides, Schenn saw him at the last second and he hit him in the arm. He’s a big, strong guy. He hit him hard, yeah. To me, it’s a clean hit. I don’t think it’s a penalty at all.
“It’s a game-changing call. They do their best. They call it the way they think they see it. I can’t do anything about it. I’m also mad they don’t get an instigator after that because every single time we get one of our guys hit and a guy goes across [to retaliate] it’s an automatic instigator. I felt bad for Willy and we’ll talk to him about it because it is a game-changing play.”
Flyers coach Craig Berube called the play “reckless” on the part of Wilson. Berube also said he does not think Schenn was injured on the play.
Oates was asked if he wants Wilson to do anything differently on that play.
“My first answer is no,” Oates said. “He’s a big, strong guy. He hit him in the elbow first. He went through the guy, that’s all. That’s how I see it.”