New York Rangers release statement on Tom Wilson incident; calls NHL Head of Player Safety “unfit”

By Anthony Scultore
May 3, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals takes a roughing penalty during the second period against Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers issued one of the sternest statements with regards to the Tom Wilson incident. After Mika Zibanejad called what he did last night, “horrible.” Ryan Strome expressed his disappointment with the $5000 fine and no suspension.

“As players, you want the league to have your back in those situations, and I think a lot of guys in our dressing room just feel like they didn’t,” he explained. A disappointed David Quinn noted that, “there was an awful lot there to suspend [Wilson].”

What Quinn is talking about is Wilson sucker punching Pavel Buchnevich which the NHL DoPS called roughing and fined him for. What was ignored was him rag dolling and slamming Artemi Panarin’s head to the ice causing him to get injured and out for the year.

New York Rangers statement on Tom Wilson and NHL DoPS

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. 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.

Former referee Paul Stewart calls out NHL

tom wilson incident
May 3, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals takes a roughing penalty during the second period against Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Stewart was one of the NHL’s best referees. The former undrafted player officiated over 1000 games in the regular season and 49 playoff games. He was also a ref during two of the most high profile international tournaments in the history hockey, the Canada Cup (1987 and 1991). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.

In a series of tweets right after the announcement from the Department of Player Safety on the fine, Paul Stewart went off.

“Tom Wilson (again) showed himself to be a fraudulent “tough guy” by opportunistically going after skill/finesse players. He wouldn’t have pulled that crap if he had to directly answer for it to a Probert, O’Reilly, Dave Brown, Fotiu, Odjick, Grimson, Twist, Chase, etc.,” Stewart began. “DOPS is spineless but they are driven play/offense outcomes first and foremost. The scrum itself wasn’t too out of the ordinary but it was Wilson’s choice of targets and general punkishness that’s the issue.”

In his final tweet, Stewart made a scathing accusation as to why the NHL DOPS is a mess. “Also, blaming George Parros for DOPS’ flaws is like blaming Ronald McDonald for the food quality at McDonald’s.” he explained. “He’s a figurehead symbol. For those who don’t know: In the NHL, the officiating department and DOPS are under the thumb of the director of hockey ops.”

A direct shot a Colin Campbell. As of this writing, the league has offered no rebuttal.