It’s been quite a week for Capitals forward Tom Wilson.
Already a lightning rod for criticism given his status as a power forward with a penchant for crossing the line (or blurring it to the nth degree at the very least), Wilson’s week may have been his busiest yet.
Beginning with a punch to the Rangers’ Pavel Buchnevich as he was down on the ice, the ensuing brouhaha with Wilson ended Artemi Panarin’s season, led to the Rangers calling for George Parros to step down from his post with the NHL Department of Player Safety, and sparked 141 total minutes in penalties in a Wednesday rematch between the Rangers and Capitals.
For the Rangers, who cleared out their front office in an allegedly unrelated move, their frustration with Wilson’s latest rampage certainly came back to the handling of the situation from Parros and the NHL Department of Player Safety, which handed Wilson (a repeat offender) with a $5,000 fine and called it a day.
“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 released after Wilson’s fine. “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. 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 in his current role.”
“Parros, we’ve heard, didn’t even want to suspend Wilson for the brain-damaging assault on Boston’s Brandon Carlo, who suffered mood changes and blurry vision from his concussion after being hospitalized by Wilson in March,”“Bettman didn’t like the optics and ordered a suspension. So Wilson got seven games. Before that, he wasn’t even considered a repeat offender, because the CBA erases priors after a certain period of time transpires. Just absurd.”
Not to say that it’s undeserved, but we have certainly approached silly season when it comes to Wilson, which means that almost anything is completely believable when it comes to the way he’s been enabled by both his team and the league. But if this is even slightly true, man, is that damning against Parros as the head of the league’s disciplinary committee.
By the NHL’s own video explanation of Wilson’s suspension for the Carlo incident, which shelved the Boston blue liner for 10 games with concussion and vision issues, was deserved given Wilson’s status as a player “with a substantial disciplinary record taking advantage of an opponent who is in a defenseless position and doing so with significant force.”
But, again, if Parros needed help from Bettman to come to that conclusion, that’s a big yikes and the Rangers may be onto something when it comes to Parros doing something else with his post-playing career work.
The good news, at least as it relates to the reported near non-suspension for Wilson and Carlo, is that Wilson was indeed suspended and that Carlo is back in action and ready for the Black and Gold’s stretch run.
The bad news, however, is Wilson was obviously not suspended for that aforementioned incident in New York, and could very well be a seven-game opponent for the B’s in the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In other words, keep your head on a swivel.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.