The NHL fined the New York Rangers $250,000 on Thursday in response to the scathing statement the team issued this week calling out the league and its director of player safety, George Parros, for failing to suspend Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for what it called a “horrifying act of violence” during Monday night’s game.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement that comments made by the Rangers were “demeaning” and would “not be tolerated.”
“Public comments of the nature issued by the Rangers that were personal in nature and demeaning of a League executive will not be tolerated,” he began. “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,” Bettman continued.
The league’s comments come just two days after the Rangers slammed Parros for failing to suspend Wilson for Monday night’s second-period brawl where he punched a vulnerable Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head before throwing star forward Artemi Panarin to the ground and punching him in the head as well.
Wilson, who has been suspended five times and fined three more in just eight seasons, was instead given a $5,000 fine.
“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 statement, issued Tuesday, read. “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 in his current role.”
The following day, Rangers CEO and owner James Dolan announced the dismissal of team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton in a seemingly unrelated move.
Feeling scorned by the league, the Rangers took matters into their own hands in Wednesday night’s game, and six fights took place in the first period, starting with a center-ice brawl right off the opening faceoff.
They would lose 4-2 to the Caps, who are now in a first-place tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the East Division.