On Monday night, the Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers 6-3, but the game caused buzz for an altercation around the net that saw Caps forward Tom Wilson slam the Rangers’ Artemi Panarin to the ground, causing a lower leg injury that will end his season.
The incident took place after a scrum at the net when Wilson hit Pavel Buchnevich in the head while on the ground and Panarin skated in to pull Wilson off of him. Wilson then slammed Panarin to the ground twice and was given a 10-minute penalty for game misconduct and a four-minute penalty for roughing.
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
After the game the two coaches had very different views of what took place, via ESPN.
“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. You got one of the star players in this league now that could have gotten seriously, seriously hurt in that incident,” said Quinn following the Rangers’ 6-3 loss to the Capitals. “You all saw what happened, and it happens time and time again with him. Totally unnecessary.
Capitals coach Peter Laviolette didn’t think there was anything out of the ordinary during the second-period incident. “I thought it was just a scrum. Physical play. There was something going on originally with the goalie and jamming at the goalie. We had a bunch of players jump in there. It happens a lot,” he said.
Some broke the video down in slow-motion to show just how dangerous Wilson’s takedown of Panarin was, but the league determined that the only punishment was a fine for what he did to Buchnevich.
Incorrect. Pulled his hair and then slammed his head on the ground. Slow-no video, watch Wilson’s left hand pic.twitter.com/CLT1t2blSm
— dantelives13 (@dantelives13) May 4, 2021
As such, the Rangers were furious with the decision, calling the NHL’s head of player safety “unfit” to continue in his current role if all he is going to do in such an instance is dole out a $5,000 fine.
It’s as scorched earth as you’ll ever see an official team statement go, calling out the league and, by name, the head of player safety. On the other side, the Capitals were much more celebratory about Wilson’s actions, initially tweeting “Capitals Choose Violence” and Wilson was living “rent free” in people’s heads in a since-deleted tweet, but still had a photo of Wilson being taken to the box afterwards in their post-victory celebratory tweet.
The two teams meet again on Wednesday in New York and there will surely be some bad blood that spills over between the two sides.