The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals wasted no time getting after each other. At the start of Wednesday's game, the Rangers and Capitals threw down in a massive brawl. This stemmed from Capitals player Tom Wilson attacking two Rangers players on separate occasions during Monday's game and not getting suspended. Wilson and Rangers player Brendan Smith got into a fight as soon as Wilson got on the ice for the first time.
On Monday, Wilson injured Rangers player Artemi Panarin by pulling him down and slamming him to the ground. Panarin suffered a lower-body injury which ended his season. Wilson also punched Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head while he was face down on the ice but was only fined $5,000. This led to the Rangers calling a top NHL executive to be fired.
The Rangers and Caps got into a line brawl right off the opening draw.pic.twitter.com/W46ElBcdjs— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) May 5, 2021
"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," the Rangers said in a statement. "Wilson is a repeat offender with a long history of these types 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 dangerous and reckless actions caused an injury to Artemi Panarin that will prevent him from playing again this season. We view this as a dereliction of duty by NHL Head of Player Safety, George Parros, and believe he is unfit to continue his current role."
Brendan Smith goes straight after Tom Wilson once he stepped onto the ice for the first time tonight.pic.twitter.com/Dxz1NNwJ22— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) May 5, 2021
The Rangers' statement led to the NHL fining the team $250,000. "Public comments of the nature issued by the Rangers that were personal in nature and demeaning of a league executive will not be tolerated," NHL commissioner Gart Bettman said per USA Today. "While we don't expect our clubs to agree with every decision rendered by the Department of Player Safety, the extent to which the Rangers expressed their disagreement was unacceptable. It is terribly unfair to question George Parros' professionalism and dedication to his role and the Department of Player Safety."