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NHL fines Rangers $250,000 for scathing statement that called player safety head 'unfit'

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A chaotic week for the New York Rangers continued Thursday with the NHL fining the club $250,000 for its statement that called for a league executive's job.

In its statement from Tuesday, the Rangers declared NHL head of player safety George Parros "unfit to continue in his current role" after the league fined the Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson $5,000 for his role in a physical altercation that ended Artemi Panarin's season on Monday.

"We view this as a dereliction of duty," the Rangers said.

That level of indignation was a step too far, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

“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 said. “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.

The New York Rangers thought the Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson should have been suspended for injuring Artemi Panarin.
The New York Rangers thought the Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson should have been suspended for injuring Artemi Panarin.

"It is terribly unfair to question George Parros’ professionalism and dedication to his role and the Department of Player Safety."

The Rangers coaches and players had voiced their outrage over Wilson's actions, which have been widely criticized by former NHL enforcers themselves as dirty. Wilson was disciplined for roughing Pavel Buchnevich, who was face-down on the ice when punched in the back by Wilson. When Panarin came to his teammates' defense, Wilson body slammed the helmetless player to the ice.

The first effects of the statement were felt Wednesday, when Rangers president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton were fired in a surprising move. With the Capitals and Rangers playing again that night, six fights broke out in the game's first five minutes, with the Capitals removing Wilson for what they called an "upper-body injury" early in the second.

Buchnevich will face a hearing for high-sticking the Capitals' Anthony Mantha.

The Capitals won 4-2 behind a hat trick from T.J. Oshie after the death of his father.

Earlier this season, the NHL fined Washington $100,000 for violating COVID-19 protocols.

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL fines Rangers $250K for panning George Parros' Tom Wilson fine