Adam Oates: Tom Wilson's Hit on Brayden Schenn “Clean”

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."

With 4:43 remaining in the second period of Washington's 5-2 loss on Tuesday, Wilson made a line change and skated nearly half the length of the ice, checking Schenn and driving him face-first into the boards. Wilson received a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct as well as a five-minute major for fighting Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, who came to Schenn's defense.
Schenn left the game with an upper-body injury, but will play on Thursday when the Flyers host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Oates actually put the onus on Schenn for not only putting himself in a vulnerable position by turning away from the oncoming collision, but making "an incorrect play" with the puck in the situation he was in.

"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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