Rangers call Head of Player Safety 'unfit' in scathing statement over Wilson

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Andrew Gillis
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Rangers call Head of Player Safety 'unfit' in scathing statement over Wilson originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The New York Rangers said in a statement released on Tuesday evening that the NHL Head of Player Safety George Parros is “unfit” to continue in his role and expressed disappointment that Capitals forward Tom Wilson was not suspended for what the team called a 'horrifying act of violence' during the Capitals game against the Rangers on Monday night.

“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 began. “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.”

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Wilson was fined $5,000, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, but was not suspended for his role in a scrum that came in the second period of Monday’s game. Wilson was fined for a blow to the back of forward Pavel Buchnevich, per the Department of Player Safety. 

The Rangers were angry over Wilson's slamming Panarin to the ice during the scrum that began with Wilson trying to defend goalie Vitek Vanecek. Panarin left the game with a lower-body injury.

The Capitals did not issue an immediate response to the Rangers' statement.

On Tuesday morning, Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said he had talked with Wilson about the play after seeing it on replay.

“I think the message to Tom was, ’He’s big, he’s strong, and when he gets into scrums and he wrestles, you gotta be careful because there’s obviously just with the attention on him I think he gets looked at in a certain way,’” Laviolette said. “‘He’s gotta play his game, he has to be hard to play against, he has to be physical, but in the same sense, he’s gotta know that eyes are on him as well.’”

Wilson's teammate Lars Eller told The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Tuesday morning that Wilson didn't deserve to be suspended.

“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” Eller said. “What happened immediately after, Tom just kinda defended himself. (He) first tried to defend our goalie and then tried to defend himself with a guy on his back and another guy trying to fight him or whatever it was. It is what it is. It happens. These things tend to happen in games whether Tom is on the ice or not."

The Capitals face the Rangers on Wednesday night on NBC Sports Washington. Puck drop is at 7 pm.