Moments before Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson's disciplinary phone hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety, coach Adam Oates staunchly defended the rookie's questionable hit on Philadelphia Flyers Brayden Schenn once again, two days removed from the incident.
"To me, one of his strengths as a player is his ability to skate and hit someone," Oates said of Wilson. "Not every guy can skate and hit. Some guys have to slow down to hit. He can hit through guys. [Alex Ovechkin] can get hit through guys. Ovi hit Schenn the game before. Some guys have that talent. Like I said, he went across the ice, he slowed down in case the puck went up the boards, then he took two strides and caught the guy. The player had every opportunity to resist the hit and chose not to.
"It's not a dirty hit, it's not a late hit, nothing [to] the numbers, no elevation. The kid chose to try and spin out. Wrong choice. To me, it's a total clean hit."
"Quite honestly, if I was going to take it another step further. he's a left-shot centerman. Why are you taking the puck and exposing it to the middle?" Oates said. "You should chip that up the boards. That's what your job is. He chose to go towards the net. As a left-shot centerman, that's an incorrect play in my book."
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