Shots fired. On Monday night, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson stirred controversy and the ire of most hockey fans when he slammed defenseless New York Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich’s face into the ice, then seemed to pull Artemi Panarin’s hair and slammed Panarin’s head to the ice.
Panarin suffered an upper-body injury and will miss the last few games of the regular season. Officials issued a pair of roughing minor penalties and a 10-minute misconduct.
Hockey fans and even some former players, including tough-guy John Scott, called for a lengthy suspension. However, the NHL Department of Player Safety issued only a $5000 fine.
In fairness, that was the maximum fine allowed.
The New York Rangers were not happy with the NHL DoPS and Tuesday afternoon issued a blistering statement that didn’t just criticize Player Safety head George Parros. The statement called Parros “unfit” and called his lack of significant punishment for Wilson a “dereliction of duty.”
The statement reads:
The New York Rangers are extremely disappointed that Capitals forward Tom Wilson was not suspended for his horrifying act of violence last night at Madison Square Garden. Wilson is a repeat offender with a long history of these type of acts and we find it shocking that the NHL and their Department of Player Safety failed to take the appropriate action and suspend him indefinitely.
Wilson’s reckless and dangerous actions caused an injury to Artemi Panarin that will prevent him from playing the rest of the season. We view this as a dereliction of duty by NHL Head of Player Safety, George Parros, and believe he is unfit to continue in his current role.”
The NHL suspended Wilson for seven games in March for his dangerous hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, who was hospitalized after the hit.
The NHL statement for that suspension included a stern condemnation.
“This is a player with a substantial disciplinary record taking advantage of an opponent who is defenseless and doing so with significant force.”
Wilson ragdolled the much smaller Panarin after attacking the defenseless Buchnevich. Social media erupted, with few defenders outside of Washington and a few former players.