NHL Notebook: Capitals’ Tom Wilson offered in-person hearing for high-stick, Flames could be players in free agency, and more

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
21 days ago
It’s Thursday, so you know it’s going to be a jam-packed news day.
This is the latest edition of NHL Notebook, where we’ll look at an upcoming suspension, what the Edmonton Oilers’ provincial rivals will do in the off-season, and some other general notes.
Let’s dig in.

Tom Wilson offered an in-person hearing

Remember Brad Marchand before becoming one of the league’s best wingers? The 5’9” forward used to be incredibly dirty, constantly slew-footing players, hitting players to the head, and even licking a dude one time. Overall, he has eight suspensions and lost over $1.4 million due to the suspensions according to Daily Faceoff.
Sure, he still has occasional incidents, such as when he tripped Toronto Maple Leafs forward Timothy Liljegren in November, which actually appeared to be more accidental than anything, but he has a rep.
For the most part, Marchand has behaved himself as he’s grown older and moved into a leadership role with the Boston Bruins, something that Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has yet to learn.
On Wednesday evening against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Wilson went to hit Noah Gregor, and as they separated, Wilson decided to swing his stick with his left hand, hitting Gregor in the face. Wilson immediately realized that you can’t do that and tried to comfort him for some reason.
However, the NHL did not care that he showed some “remorse”, as they offered Wilson an in-person hearing on Thursday. This means that the impending suspension has a chance to be over five games, the most allowed for an over-the-phone hearing.
Playing with an edge is fine, Marchard still plays with an edge, but has learned to tone down the dirty stuff, whereas Wilson has not. It’s not like Wilson doesn’t have the skill either, as he has 145 goals and 327 points in 746 NHL games, along with three 20-goal seasons with a fourth likely coming in 2023-24 if it’s not a long suspension.
Still, it’s a costly suspension for a team that is just a point out of a playoff spot with the tiebreaker.

Calgary Flames could be players this off-season

It’s safe to say that the Calgary Flames won’t be making the playoffs in 2024, as they have 71 points and are eight points behind the Vegas Golden Knights with 14 games remaining. It doesn’t help that they traded three pending UFAs to Western Conference teams, including Noah Hanifin to the Golden Knights. With all that being said, what’s their plan after the season is done?
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli had a chance to speak with general manager Craig Conroy where they went over a few topic. The most interesting is that this off-season, the Flames will have about $19 million in cap space to fill a few holes, mainly for centres and defencemen. Of course, netminder Jacob Markström could be moved as well, as his name was quite popular in the rumour mill, with a trade to the New Jersey Devils shot down at the last second.
The Flames are in a tough spot with how their roster is constructed, as they can’t really tank like the San Jose Sharks or Chicago Blackhawks. This is because they actually do have some talented players like Nazem Kadri and MacKenzie Weegar. So it appears that they’ll aim to retool rather than tear it all down and start from scratch.

Alex Ovechkin scores twice

From one Washington Capitals winger to another.
Recently, I wrote an article about whether or not Alex Ovechkin can catch Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals. As you may recall, Ovechkin was denied twice by Stuart Skinner that same day. Since then, he went “Goalless in Seattle”, but scored one against the Vancouver Canucks and twice against the Calgary Flames to end the Capitals’ road trip. 
Well, on Wednesday evening, Ovechkin scored twice against the Toronto Maple Leafs to give him 23 goals on the season and 845 career goals, and is now 50 goals shy of besting Gretzky’s record.
Ovechkin has come on recently, scoring 15 goals and 25 points in his last 22 games dating back to January 27. The Capitals have also made up some ground in that time, as they are just a point out of the final Wild Card spot with an additional game in hand on the Red Wings. Not just that, they have 27 regulation wins to Detroit’s 24, which is the first tiebreaker.
With two seasons left after this one, it seems like it’s a matter of “when” not “if” Ovechkin will become the highest-scoring player in hockey history.

Sean Couturier sits (again)

As you may recall, Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella sat captain Sean Couturier as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. Well, why change what worked, as the captain will once again.
In a press conference on Thursday, Tortorella was asked about what Couturier must do to get back in the lineup. The head coach interrupted the media member, saying, ”I’m not talking about [Couturier].
The first time you sit your captain, it’s great because it sends a message to the whole team that they need to play better. If you do it again, though, you run the risk of losing the room, as Couturier is obviously an important part of the leadership group.
Still, Tortorella has a track record of helping bad teams become good, so this may actually work.
If you enjoy my content, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.

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