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Tom Wilson is social media’s No. 1 hated NHL player

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the season and throughout his career, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been involved in several altercations, resulting in a long list of fines, ejections, and suspensions.

As a result, a lot of controversy and conversation surrounds Wilson’s every move and, of course, social media has a lot to say. In fact, according to a study conducted by Online Casino, the Capitals’ forward–a native of the greater Toronto area, in Canada–the name Tom Wilson created just over 19,000 impressions on social media. But not all talk is good talk. The study collected a sample of 250,000 social media posts about the 20 most talked about NHL players and analyzed the data to compile a list of the most loved and unloved NHL players. The resulting report noted that 47.9% of the sentiments expressed about Tom Wilson were negative ones while 15.3% were neutral and 36.8% were positive.

A lot of controversy surrounded Wilson’s hit on New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin, who ranked as the second most trolled forward on social media. His negative sentiment rate tallied just less than Tom Wilson’s–totaling 47.8%, but his positive sentiments total 41.7% and his neutral sentiments total 10.5%. Panarin’s total impressions were nearly half of Tom Wilson’s, too, coming in at 11,350 tallies.

Tom Wilson’s 20 game suspension

Back in September of 2018, Wilson received a 20-game suspension for a very illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. During his hearing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety noted the head collision was avoidable, and that Sundqvist’s head was Wilson’s main point of contact.

It was Wilson’s fourth suspension in just over 100 games, and the league noted that Wilson’s suspension rate was progressing at an “unprecedented frequency.” The resulting 20-game suspension was one of the longest in the NHL’s history, and cost Wilson $1.26 million in salary.

The 20-game benching wouldn’t be Wilson’s last suspension either, leading many to speculate that he didn’t learn his lesson.

Tom Wilson and Brandon Carlo

washington capitals tom wilson
Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Roughly halfway through the shortened 2020-2021 season, Tom Wilson was handed another seven-game suspension for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. Tons of controversy ensued with Washington Capitals superstar and captain Alex Ovechkin defending Wilson and calling the suspension a joke. But many pointed to Wilson’s storied history of suspensions as validation enough for the seven-game ruling.

 “I think it’s kind of joke because we was talking to refs after the first period and he said like ‘I don’t think it was even two minutes. It was hard hit.’” Ovechkin said. “On the ice, no call on the play. Yeah, the player get hurt and it sucks, but I think when you play hockey you have to be ready for that. You have to know who’s on the ice.” But, of course, many disagreed with Ovechkin’s sentiments, saying that the hit was violent and proved intent to injure.

Others on the trolled list

On Online Casino’s list of most trolled NHL players on social media, some names are more obvious than others. The top five is rounded out by another Washington Capital in T.J. Oshie as well as Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander and San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, who is no stranger to headlines and controversy.

Positive reactions to NHL players

Of course, Online Casino’s list doesn’t just include negative reactions to Tom Wilson and his peers. Connor McDavid is the player who received the second-most positive sentiments of the sample. McDavid ‘s 27,890 impressions resulted in 59.2% positive posts, 19.1% neutral posts and 21.7% negative sentiments. He trailed Boston Bruins’ forward David Pastrnak, who received 60.6% positive sentiments out of 13,630 impressions. Other players with positive sentiments according to Online Casino include Evgeni Malkin, Carey Price and P.K. Subban.