‘You don’t do that’: Tom Wilson laughs after breaking Zach Aston-Reese’s jaw
Being a jerk is one thing.
Being a jerk about being a jerk is worse.
Trust me, I’d like to use stronger language than jerk. But this is a family website.
Hey, there should be at least one on the internet, right?
So “jerk” it is.
A lot of Pittsburgh hockey fans are upset about Tom Wilson’s hit on Zach Aston-Reese during Washington’s 4-3 win over the Penguins in Game 3 of their series. However, the Penguins are more upset about something else: Wilson laughing about it.
As you may have seen Tuesday night, Wilson was caught on the arena big screen — and more briefly on television — laughing after Aston-Reese was injured as a result of this hit in the second period.
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) May 2, 2018
Following the game, some Penguins players actually shrugged off the hit.
“It’s part of the game,” Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz said. “It’s part of the rivalry. It’s fun to play in these games.”
Wilson’s laughter as Aston-Reese was struggling to leave the ice was another matter in their eyes, though.
“It’s disrespectful,” Schultz said. “A guy is hurt laying on the ice. It’s not too good to be laughing at someone like that.”
Pick your most hated Pittsburgh sports villain. Ray Lewis, Scott Hartnell, Adam Graves, Vontaze Burfict. I don’t think any of them have ever heard it like that from a Pittsburgh crowd.
Wilson’s amused response was likely more about the raucous chorus of boos and epithets being thrown his way than Aston-Reese’s injured state.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after the game Aston-Reese has a broken jaw that will require surgery and a concussion.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang didn’t seem to care what the nature was of Wilson’s chuckling. Letang could be seen screaming from his bench towards Wilson during the stoppage in play, “Yeah. Laugh! Laugh again!”
Tom Wilson shouldn’t be suspended from the NHL… he should be in jail! And then he laughs about hurting someone… really classy. pic.twitter.com/Xigdoqaw4A
— Tim Williams (@realtimwilliams) May 2, 2018
Give me a little latitude for lip reading, Letang’s accent, and maybe another synonym for “jerk” being thrown in there that I’m sure wouldn’t make it past our editors. But those words were easy to make out.
“I get the physical game. I get the physical play,” Letang explained after the game. “I’ve been on the wrong side of it. At the end of the day, I respect what kind of game he plays. But you don’t laugh at somebody getting hurt. You just … you don’t do that.”
Wilson was not made available to give his side of the story.
His teammates spoke about it, though.
Smile And Get Them More Pissed Off:Brett Connolly explains why he thinks Tom Wilson was smiling on the bench last night. @SherreeBurruss has more tonight on @nbcwashington . #ALLCAPS #Caps pic.twitter.com/S70DgSpiy2
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) May 2, 2018
As did Alex Ovechkin.
“You can protect yourself, you have to be ready and you have to know who’s on the ice.”
So what’s Ovechkin saying there? “My teammate is a headhunter, so it’s your job to be aware of that, Rookie?”
During his postgame press conference, Caps coach Barry Trotz said, “There are very few Tom Wilsons in the league.”
Well, thank God for that. That’s just about the only good news to come out of PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @TimBenzPGH.