The New York Rangers played the Washington Capitals on Monday night in what was seemingly a thrilling game. That is, up until an incident that has evidently rocked the National Hockey League. An incident involving Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and his repeated dangerous on-ice behavior.
Just before the midway point of the second period, both teams were involved in some pushing and shoving around the net, but Wilson took it a bit too far. Wilson took a cheap shot and punched Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head while he was face down on the ice. As the pushing and shoving escalated between both teams, Wilson struck again, throwing down Rangers forward Artemi Panarin to the ice in what has been called a “horrific act of violence”.
Tom Wilson gets a 10-minute misconduct for punching Buchnevich in the head on the ground and body slamming Panarin pic.twitter.com/fg2HRej8yD
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 4, 2021
Today, the Department of NHL Player Safety announced that Wilson would be fined $5,000, the maximum allowed under the CBA, for roughing Buchnevich. Fury erupted across the league after it was announced there would no suspension for Wilson’s “act of violence” against Panarin. The video below shows Wilson pulling Panarin’s hair, sweeping his leg, and throwing him headfirst into the ice without a helmet.
A $5k fine for body slamming one of NHL’s biggest stars by pulling his hair and kicking out his feet, coming within a inch of making unhelmeted head principle point of contact with ice. #TomWilson https://t.co/v3Hk8Ubv6t
— Iain MacIntyre (@imacSportsnet) May 4, 2021
The Rangers organization released a statement following the announcement expressing their extreme disappointment with the league opting not to suspend Wilson for his actions — actions that are far from being considered part of an isolated incident. Wilson has a long history of these types of acts and was even suspended seven games this past March for a violent hit on Boston Bruins defensemen Brandon Carlo. The Rangers called for the removal of George Parros, head of the NHL Department of Player Safety, stating that he is unfit to continue his duties after failing to punish Wilson for his actions.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 4, 2021
Players and fans around the league took to Twitter to express their outrage at Wilson’s dangerous conduct and the severe lack of punishments and disciplinary action the NHL has enacted. Panarin is lucky to be in his current condition, but he will still be missing the rest of the regular season. This has left many around the NHL world wondering what it will take for Tom Wilson to learn, or be taught, that enough is enough?
#NYR David Quinn on if Tom Wilson's $5,000 fine fit the crime:
"Not at all. To me, anybody in hockey, certainly in our organization, is very disappointed. Certainly thought it warranted a suspension, which is really disappointing. A line was crossed…
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) May 4, 2021
Tom Wilson will not be allowed at XFL games. #XFL
— XFL 🏉 (@realXFLfootball) May 4, 2021
Mika Zibanejad on the Tom Wilson shenanigans:
"He should have more respect for the game and for the players. I don't even know where to start. It's just horrible."#NYR
— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) May 4, 2021