Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been fined $5,000 for roughing New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich during Monday’s contest at Madison Square Garden.
This is the maximum financial punishment allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Rangers are, to say the least, frustrated.
“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,” the organization said in a statement.
Wilson was not punished for his actions toward Rangers forward Artemi Panarin, which took place in the same scrum as the Buchnevich incident. After delivering a blow to the back of Buchnevich’s head, Wilson was seen throwing a helmet-less Panarin to the ice.
Panarin has been ruled out of the last three games of the regular season for the Rangers due to a lower body injury.
This marks Wilson’s third fine in eight seasons. He’s been suspended five times, including a seven-game ban in March for boarding Bruins defenceman Brandon Carlo.
Not calculating any kind of reprimand for his injury-causing actions against Panarin seems, to the Rangers at least, an appalling oversight.
“Wilson’s dangerous and reckless actions caused an injury to Artemi Panarin that will prevent him from playing again this season,” said the team. “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.”
“To me, anybody in hockey – certainly, everybody in our organization – is very disappointed,” Rangers head coach David Quinn said. “We certainly thought it warranted a suspension. We’re just really disappointed. A line was crossed: guy didn’t have his helmet on, vulnerable, he got hurt. To me, it was an awful lot there to suspend him.”
The argument from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety seems to be these incidents took place in the context of a characteristic post-whistle scrum around a goaltender, the kind of action seen frequently around the league any given night.
Wilson was not kicked out of the game by officials due to his actions against Buchnevich and Panarin and he scored a goal as part of the Capitals’ ensuing 6-3 victory over the Rangers.
And, despite his reputation, he has defenders and enablers throughout the NHL and NHLPA. There is, without question, a lot of blame to go around and, this time around, the league’s “maximum allowable” punishment speaks volumes.
Pic: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photos