** Update: Somehow, Tom Wilson got away with just a fine for his actions on Monday. He was not suspended by NHL Player Safety but fined $5,000.
Tom Wilson is at it again. And, while Washington Capitals’ fans are doing whatever they can to try and defend the forward after his latest stunt, it’s hard to defend a player for pinning a player by the neck with a stick, punching him in the head while he can’t defend himself, then slamming another guy’s head into the ice, not once, but twice. Oh, and then he bragged about the fact he was able to do so.
In what was a net-side scrum that turned into a massive brawl and then not much short of an assault, Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals went after Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers during a multi-player scrum after a referee whistle. Wilson first pinned Pavel Buchnevich down with his skick, then chose to grab Panarin from the group, used his left hand to pull Panarin’s hair and then slammed him head-first into the ice surface. When Panarin tried to get up, Wilson — who had 100 pounds on Panarin — slammed him again.
Some are arguing that Panarin jumped into the fray making him fair game, but he only did so in an effort to protect his own player who was face down on the ice with a stick to the back of his neck. It was absolutely the right thing to do as Wilson had taken liberties with a prone player.
Wilson got a 10-minute misconduct for punching Buchnevich in the head on the ground and body slamming Panarin, but it seems clear that more is coming from the NHL Department of Player Safety. If it doesn’t, there’s clearly something wrong and the system is broken.
After Wilson punched Buchnevich, Ryan Strome came in and tried to pull Wilson off. Another player jumped Strome, and that’s when Panarin hopped in, doing everything he could, including jumping on Wilson’s his back. Wilson snapped.
After it was over Wilson, with his jersey off, was flexing in the penalty box as if to suggest it was some incredible feat he manhandled someone much smaller than him. This is bound to equate to some kind of suspension and most are calling for the punishment to be severe. Wilson has a lengthy history of run-ins with the NHL Department of Player Safety, including earlier this season when he was suspended for seven games in March after a hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo.
Some are suggesting he get the rest of the year and perhaps ordered to go through some sort of behavioral program before returning.
Mika Zibanejad on what transpired with Wilson: “I figured you should have some more respect for the game and for the players. I don’t honestly know where to start. It’s just there’s zero respect. I don’t know why I’m surprised, just horrible.”
Coach Quinn said, “We all saw it. There are lines that can’t be crossed in this game. There’s just zero respect for the game in general.” He added, “You got one of the star players in this league now that could have gotten seriously, seriously hurt in that incident. You all saw what happened, and it happens time and time again with him. Totally unnecessary.”
Update on Panarin
According to reports from Elliotte Friedman later in the evening on Monday: “Preliminary word is that NYR Artemi Panarin won’t play the rest of the season.” He adds that the New York Rangers have three games remaining and while head coach David Quinn said Panarin was “OK” after the game, he noted that losing the star forward was a “big blow.”
Quinn was referring to Panarin being not seriously injured. He did not return to the game. As more information becomes available on Panarin and Wilson, we’ll be sure to update the report.
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