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WASHINGTON (AP/KDKA) — Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been suspended 20 games by the NHL for a blindside hit to the head of an opponent during a preseason game.

Wilson’s punishment was announced Wednesday, just hours before the reigning Stanley Cup champion Capitals were to raise their banner and open their title defense by hosting the Boston Bruins to begin the regular season.

The physical right winger, who plays on Washington’s top line with captain Alex Ovechkin, drew a 10-minute penalty for the way he hit St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist in the second period of the teams’ exhibition game on Sunday.

Wilson had an in-person hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety in New York on Wednesday.

Last season, during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Wilson was suspended three games for giving Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese a concussion and broken jaw during a game at PPG Paints Arena.

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