Capitals' Tom Wilson gets 3 games for hit on Penguins' Aston-Reese
Penguins forward suffered broken jaw, concussion from check to head by Caps enforcer on Tuesday
The NHL suspended Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson three games on Wednesday for an illegal hit on Pittsburgh's Zach Aston-Reese.
The league announced the suspension less than 24 hours after Wilson broke Aston-Reese's jaw with a violent collision near the Washington bench in the second period of Washington's 4-3 Game 3 victory over the Penguins.
Aston-Reese was stickhandling near the Capitals bench when Wilson drilled the rookie with his left shoulder. The force propelled Wilson up into the Washington bench while Aston-Reese lay on the ice for several moments before skating off. He was later diagnosed with a concussion and a broken jaw.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety ruled Wilson made Aston-Reese's head the initial point of contact during the collision, pointing out that Wilson did not have to pivot to his left side to hit Aston-Reese.
The league said Aston-Reese made no sudden movement at the last second that made contact unavoidable. The league pointed out several ways Wilson could have finished the play legally only to instead launch himself at Aston-Reese.
"He extends up and into the hit unnecessarily," the league said in a video.
While Wilson was not penalized during the game, the league's Department of Player Safety called for a hearing on Wednesday.
This isn't the first time this season Wilson has been disciplined by the league. He was forced to sit out two preseason games following a late hit on St. Louis Blues rookie Robert Thomas and was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for boarding Blues forward Sammy Blais shortly after his return.
The league pointed out Wilson's status as a repeat offender as a factor in the length of the suspension it handed out.
Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
Stars to hire next coach
The Dallas Stars reached into the collegiate ranks to find their new head coach.
It's a strategy that's certainly working out well in Philadelphia.
The Stars will hire Jim Montgomery as their next coach, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Montgomery takes over for Ken Hitchcock, who retired last month and will become a consultant for the Stars. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the hiring had not been announced.
Montgomery becomes the second college-to-NHL hire in the past three years, following the Flyers' Dave Hakstol in 2015. Hakstol was considered one of the premier college coaches at North Dakota before making the switch. The Flyers have gone to the playoffs in two of the three seasons Hakstol has been in charge.
Dallas is banking on a similar showing under the 48-year-old Montgomery, who spent five seasons in charge of the Pioneers and led them to a national title in 2016-17. He finished 125-57-26 at a university well known for its hockey and lacrosse programs.
Montgomery inherits a Dallas squad led by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. The Stars are coming off a season in which they missed the playoffs for the eighth time in 10 seasons. Hitchcock returned for just a season before hanging it up. He's the only coach to lead the team to a Stanley Cup title.
Before his arrival in Denver, Montgomery spent three seasons as the head coach/general manager of the United States Hockey League's Dubuque Fighting Saints. He also served as an assistant coach at RPI from 2006-10. He started his coaching career as a volunteer coach at Notre Dame in '05-06.
As a player, Montgomery led Maine to a national title in 1993 before embarking on a 12-year pro career that included stops in an assortment of leagues, including parts of six seasons in the NHL. He finished his career by playing one game for the Stars during the `02-03 season.