Peter Laviolette Enabling Tom Wilson With Embarrassing Response To Goon’s Hit

The least Laviolette could do is admit it might've been a bad hit

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The NHL over the last 10-plus years largely has done a good job getting total goons out of the game. And if Tom Wilson weren’t actually a skilled forward, he certainly wouldn’t have the leash he’s gotten from the league.

But so long as Peter Laviolette refuses to acknowledge that maybe — just maybe — Wilson is a dangerous or reckless player, it’s never going to stop.

You know the story by now. In the first period of the Boston Bruins’ 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday, Wilson took a run at Brandon Carlo, stapling the Bruins defenseman’s head to the glass. Carlo, who has a concussion history, went tumbling to the ground, with Jakub Vrana giving him a cross check to the back of the head to boot.

Inexplicably, referees Dean Morton and Pierre Lambert decided no penalty was needed.

Carlo ended up in the hospital due to the hit, and whether or not Laviolette knew that when he issued this nonsense take on the hit doesn’t really matter.

?I saw the hit,? Laviolette said. ?His feet were on the ice. He stayed down with everything. Just looked like a hard hit in the corner. Not exactly sure what happened, but to me, it looked like just a hit.?

Hey, Peter, when somebody has the history Wilson does, you’re allowed to say that it might’ve been a bad hit. Or, you can even say nothing. Coaches and players all the time after games use the “I haven’t seen the replay” line. That would’ve been more acceptable than what he offered.

Perhaps the weak argument could be made that the lion’s share of Wilson’s dangerous play predated Laviolette’s time as head coach. Maybe he got too caught up reading the comical, borderline PR stories about Wilson trying to repair his image and clean up his game. But he’s the same player, and he always will be. That much is clear. That he continues to do this shouldn’t surprise anybody — especially his coach.

The issue isn’t that Laviolette continues to play Wilson. He’s a bona fide top-six winger, and referees nor the NHL have done anything to discourage Wilson from trying to end careers. As long as he’s available and under contract, Laviolette should play him. But the absolute least he can do is not enable Wilson by acting like what happened Friday night was “just a hit.”

That’s dangerous, stupid and laughable behavior.

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