The crowd booed him, but Tom Wilson’s fellow all-stars were very complimentary

The Washington Post

Tom Wilson made his first all-star appearance Saturday in Las Vegas. (Rick Scuteri/AP)

The 27-year-old was just soaking in his first career all-star appearance, an experience he described as a «dream come true.» The boos, he said, just added to the memories. «Guys had a lot of fun with me being booed, and it is just all part of the journey,» Wilson said in a recent interview with The Washington Post. «’Guys were hearing it and then making nice comments toward me. I had to say to a couple guys, ‘Thanks for having me this weekend,’ because they were all so good to me».

The boos that greeted Wilson at the NHL’s showcase event were expected. Wilson’s past is littered with questionable hits that have drawn ire from fan bases across the league. The Capitals have long reiterated that every team in the league would want to have a player like Wilson on their roster. At the all-star festivities, the Capitals’ opponents largely agreed.

«He is a tough player to play against, for sure. » Carolina’s Sebastian Aho called Wilson a «nice, tough» player. Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel said he was «tremendous.» Seattle’s Jordan Eberle said Wilson is a player you need to be aware of on the ice because «you are scared that he is going to hit you» but also has developed into an «elite goal scorer and an elite playmaker». «Those are the guys that you want on your team, that you are going to win with.

I think that style of play, there is not much of it anymore, but those are the guys you really want on your team when it comes down to the playoffs». Columbus’s Zach Werenski said it’s never fun being caught in the crosshairs of a Wilson hit but «he is more skilled than people think». «Every team wants a Tom Wilson,» Werenski said. « He’s a great player».

New Jersey’s Jack Hughes, 20, said Wilson was the player he was most looking forward to playing with and getting to know during the event. Wilson called Hughes a «happy-go-lucky, fun kid» and thinks he’s «going to be a star.» Hughes went out of his way to say goodbye to Wilson on Saturday night after the All-Star Game, wishing him well until Washington plays New Jersey next month. Growing up, Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk, 22, said, he looked up to Wilson and Dallas captain Jamie Benn for their style of play. «These are guys that you win Stanley Cups with».

Coaches commended Wilson’s skills, too. «He is the type of player that every coach wants to have on their team,» Carolina Coach Rod Brind’Amour said. Wilson’s skill was on full display during Saturday’s All-Star Game. «I honestly had no idea how hard my shot was going to be,» Wilson said.

He left with a signed stick and had all players representing the Metropolitan Division sign his all-star jersey. In addition to experiencing the weekend with fellow Capitals all-star Ev­geny Kuznetsov, Wilson had two brothers who made the trip and two close friends who drove up from California as well. «I think I was coming into this event, like, just get through it,» Wilson said.

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Source: The Washington Post

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