Tom Wilson Calls Out Referees for Unfairly Targeting Him

Marc El Khoury
April 12, 2023  (12:17)

There's no denying that Tom Wilson is among the NHL's most contentious figures. Alongside Brad Marchand and Tyler Bertuzzi, Wilson has earned a reputation as one of the league's grittiest agitators.

Famed for his borderline hits and unyielding intensity on the ice, it's no wonder referees keep a watchful eye on him - a fact that Tom Wilson isn't particularly thrilled about.

Wilson Voices Frustration Over Referees' Attention

Wilson has recently found himself at the center of two contentious calls in back-to-back games. The first occurred in Montreal, where he was handed a 17-minute penalty for challenging Michael Pezzetta to fight.
In a subsequent game against Florida, Wilson was on the receiving end of a punch from Givani Smith, who was sitting on the bench after his shift had concluded. When Wilson responded on the ice, both players were given minor penalties.
Reflecting on the incident, Wilson shared:
"Honestly, that was the first time [I've ever been punched from the bench]. I don't know what the rule is. I thought if you get punched from the bench off the ice, it's probably a game misconduct.

It was obviously a big game for them, but we're still trying to win games. That was a little frustrating. It's never happened. I maybe should not have reacted, but if you get punched from the bench, you kind of react with the territory."

Later, Wilson pointed fingers at the referees, accusing them of unfairly targeting him in his post-game remarks:
"You know what? Honestly, I don't really know what's going on rules-wise. The other night, I asked a guy to fight, I squared up and get 17 minutes. I get punched from the bench on a line change, and we kill three consecutive penalties. It's tough."

This is the price of playing with Wilson's signature style. While he may not be thrilled with the treatment he receives from officials, it's not entirely unexpected. Unless he alters his approach to the game, Wilson can anticipate continued scrutiny from the refs moving forward.