The New York Rangers were none too pleased with the measly $5,000 fine handed down to Washington Capitals forward and repeat offender Tom Wilson for the ruckus that led to a season-ending injury to superstar Artemi Panarin.
And their decision to vocalize their frustration and criticize the league, and NHL Department of Player Safety head George Parros, for that, will cost them in a major way, as the league hit the franchise with a $250,000 fine Thursday.
“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 Gary Bettman said in a statement accompanying word of the fine. “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.”
The fine, which is for 50 times what Wilson was fined for sucker-punching Pavel Buchnevich and whipping Panarin down by his hair, is the largest fine handed to a team since the Sharks were fined $100,000 for Doug Wilson’s criticism of the league following a Raffi Torres suspension in 2013.
But there’s no doubt that the Rangers got their money’s worth with their statement.
“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.”
Now, it is worth mentioning that contrary to what Bettman said, the Rangers didn’t outright insult or demean Parros on a personal level. They merely questioned his ability to perform the duties that the job requires. And after Wednesday’s Rangers-Capitals rematch, which featured 141 minutes in penalties and the Rangers left to self-police and go at Wilson (who left the game with an ‘upper-body injury), the Rangers may have a point. They definitely have a point if subsequent reporting on Parros’ thoughts on the Wilson-Brandon Carlo incident from March holds any weight, too.
To make matters worse for the Rangers, there’s a good chance they’ll have to bite their tongue in less than 24 hours, as Buchnevich will have a hearing with Parros and the NHL Department of Player Safety for his crosscheck to the face of Capitals forward Anthony Mantha last night.
But I can’t be the only one hoping for another unloading.
Please, can one of the Ranger execs who hasn’t been fired yet remind James Dolan that he can afford it?
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.