Penguins' Cullen rips appeal process that reduced Wilson's suspension
Put Matt Cullen's name atop the list of players who weren't happy seeing noted repeat offender Tom Wilson get his 20-game suspension reduced to 14 on Tuesday.
"When the next CBA comes up, that’s something we (should) address," Cullen told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, speaking of the lengthy appeal process. "I don’t think anybody is real happy with it."
Wilson had already served 16 games of his suspension, so he's eligible to play immediately. He also saved $378,048.78 in lost salary.
There may be a high level of animosity against Wilson in the Penguins' locker room - at least more so than others around the league - given that the two sides have met in the playoffs three years in a row. Wilson delivered a pair of questionable hits on Zach Aston-Reese and Brian Dumoulin during last year's second-round matchup.
"I don’t think it’s a good look for our league, for our game to need to go to appeals," Cullen said. "You’d like the headlines to be about the play on the ice and the players, not the other (stuff) going on outside of the game.
"I think most guys probably don’t love that - that it got reduced in that manner as far as going to appeal after appeal."
The NHL was certainly hoping the lengthy suspension would make Wilson think twice before delivering another questionable hit, but Cullen doesn't believe it'll affect his reckless on-ice demeanor.
"Honestly I don’t know how much any of that really changes a player," Cullen said. "I think it has to come from within your organization, people working with somebody to change.
"Obviously it’s the only way the league can deal with it, but something like that, I think that has to be within the organization as far as putting the pressure on a guy to change the way he plays."
The Penguins and Capitals will square off Dec. 19 in Washington.