There were six fights in the opening period of the New York Rangers clash with the Washington Capitals game on Wednesday night as controversy between the two sides rumbled.
There was composure between the teams after Monday’s game in which Capitals agent Tom Wilson committed a series of penalties, including one that knocked out Rangers star Artemi Panarin for the remainder of the season in due to an injury to the lower body.
Wilson was later fined $ 5,000 by the NHL, which the Rangers considered a slap on the wrist in light of the gravity of his actions. In contrast, the NBA on Wednesday fined Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving $ 35,000 for skipping press conferences.
That left the Rangers feeling the need to take matters into their own hands when the teams reconvened on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
And it didn’t take long for the fists to fly. As soon as the puck fell to mark the start of the game, three fights broke out simultaneously.
Soon after, when Wilson first entered the ice, he was immediately attacked by a New York player.
In the first half alone, 20 penalties were imposed, including 10 in the first minute.
The game saw a total of 141 penalty minutes, including 100 in the first half.
“I really think we felt the need to take matters into our own hands a bit,” Rangers center Ryan Strome told media afterward.
“I thought that was a great answer. And hats off to them for answering the bell. They knew our frustration. We resolved it and played the rest of the game.
“Most of the guys who fought today were pretty disappointed and would have liked to react in the previous game. The guys who wanted to step up did.”
Amidst all the fighting, the Capitals finally took the win, beating the Rangers 4-2 thanks in part to a hat trick from winger TJ Oshie.
Oshie, who missed Monday’s clash due to his father’s death from Alzheimer’s disease, was visibly moved on the bench after scoring.
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Wilson is known for his tough, rugged game on the ice – he’s been suspended five times by the NHL – but the Rangers viewed his actions in Monday’s game as a step too far.
His fine of $ 5,000 was officially for punching Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head as he was face down on the ice during a scrimmage near the goal. Rangers Monday.
During the game, Wilson was fined two minor penalties for harshness and a 10-minute misconduct for the incident.
But that wasn’t his only transgression, as Panarin later hopped onto Wilson’s back to break up another altercation after which Wilson appeared to grab the Rangers winger by the hair and whip him headfirst in. ice.
The New York squad said Panarin would not play again this season after sustaining a lower body injury and said NHL player safety chief George Parros was unfit to continue in his post after having imposed a fine rather than a suspension.
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In a statement from the Rangers team, they named Wilson a “dangerous and reckless” player with a history of similar acts on the ice, and argued that Wilson’s status as a repeat offender warrants a suspension.
The Washington Capitals declined to respond to the Rangers’ statement and said they would let the NHL handle the situation.
The NHL did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Later Thursday, the Rangers were fined $ 250,000 for their public criticism of an NHL league executive earlier this week.
Fine follows Rangers statement calling NHL player safety chief George Parros “unfit to continue” in office after fining Wilson rather than subsequent suspension of a series of penalties in Monday’s game against the Rangers.
“Public comments of the kind made by the Rangers that were personal and demeaning in nature from an executive in the League will not be tolerated,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement Thursday.
“While we didn’t expect our clubs to agree with every ruling made by the Player Safety Department, the extent to which the Rangers expressed their disagreement was unacceptable. It is woefully unfair to challenge question the professionalism and dedication of George Parros to his role and the Department of Player Safety. “
Kevin Dotson contributed to this report