Washington Capitals’ forward Tom Wilson has long been under fire for controversial play. The latest case of that came Monday night in the Capitals’ game against the New York Rangers, where Wilson punched Pavel Buchnevich while he was on the ice and flung Artemi Panarin down by his hair. That led to a 10-minute misconduct for Wilson, and to the Capitals’ social media team quietly deleting the initial tweet they posted in support of Wilson after that tweet got ratioed, but it also led to the NHL’s Department of Player Safety handing Wilson only a fine rather than the suspension many had called for. And the Rangers really weren’t happy about that, putting out one of the most blistering team statements in a while Tuesday night, a statement that called for the resignation of Department of Player Safety head (and former NHL enforcer) George Parros:
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 4, 2021
Here’s video of Wilson’s actions Monday:
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
It’s not new to see particular NHL teams upset with individual decisions by the Department of Player Safety, but what is interesting here is how this came out as not just comments to media by Rangers’ coaches, executives or players, but as an official team statement. And it’s particularly notable to see that statement specifically calling out an individual NHL executive in Parros, and saying that the Rangers believe he is “unfit to continue in his current role.”
We’ll see whether that actually leads to anything, whether that’s changes at the league office or pushback against the Rangers. Either’s possible, but neither is certain. But this is certainly a strong reaction from an individual team. And it helps illustrate the amount of attention and comment this Wilson situation is drawing, and how it’s far from a typical NHL player discipline case.
[@NYRangers on Twitter]