In fairness, it was more of a short “Pedigree” reminiscent of Triple H’s WWE career than it was a DDT that Tom Wilson delivered on New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich. The assault touched off an angry brawl midway through the second period in the Washington Capitals 6-3 win over the New York Rangers on Monday night.
The Washington win pushed them past the Pittsburgh Penguins and back into first place in the MassMutual East Division, but that won’t be the story on Tuesday morning.
During a pileup at the Washington net, Wilson drove Buchnevich’s face into the ice and delivered a punch for good measure. As the fists flew, Wilson grabbed New York star Artemi Panarin and pummeled him, too. Both kept the gloves on, but Wilson landed a fleury of punches until more Rangers grabbed Wilson, who appeared to grab Panarin’s hair and slam him to the ice.
It was another wild situation which NHL’s leading villain set in motion during a season of borderline hits and calls for supplementary discipline.
Wilson was suspended for seven games in March for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, which sent Carlo to the hospital. The NHL cited Wilson’s long history of disciplinary action. They didn’t cite the other close calls this season.
The situation drew an awkward tweet from the Capitals organization that seemed to revel in the brawl and the extra-legal hits which sparked the melee. Steer into the skid, I suppose?
Tom Wilson was given only a couple of roughing minors and a misconduct penalty. Not only did Wilson bulldog a defenseless Buchnevich, but Wilson also ragdolled then faceplanted Panarin while he continued punching, too. It sure seemed like intent to injure from the replays, which should have been an ejection.
“Just horrible. Zero respect,” Rangers center Mika Zibanejad said. “I don’t know why I’m surprised. Just horrible.”
Quote from ESPN. Wilson was allowed to remain in the game and even scored the Washington empty-net goal to seal the win.
The MSG network found a close-up of the near assault, and Wilson did some posing and mockery from the penalty box, too.
UPDATE: Watch this alternate angle video. It just gets worst.
Take a look at this and see how close the NHL was to a death on the ice. Ban this guy for the rest of the season and playoffs. Make him reapply for admission next year. https://t.co/sfz6E6r7bL
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) May 4, 2021
Update #2: According to Sportsnet, the New York Rangers do not expect Panarin to play again this season.