Tom Wilson goons it up in a sequence that only the Hanson Brothers from the movie Slap Shot would’ve been proud of. The Capitals eventually beat the Rangers 6-3 and eliminate them from playoff contention, but it was all about Wilson. Today we will see just how much the NHL cares about player safety.
Tom Wilson goons it up and injures Artemi Panarin
The Washington Capitals victory puts them back in first place but the game was marred by the antics of the five time suspended Tom Wilson. Halfway through the second period, Wilson dropped on top of Pavel Buchnevich during a crease scrum. He then proceeded to sucker punch him while he was down.
This prompted a melee to ensue once Ryan Strome went to go grab Wilson off his prone teammate. A scrum in the corner broke out and Artemi Panarin grabbed Wilson from behind as he was taking shots at Strome. From there the much larger Caps forward seemed to pull Panarin down hard by his hair. Fortunately, the helmet-less Panarin did not seem to hit his head on the ice. Wilson continued to rag doll him and then sit on top of Panarin before referees saw fit to break it up.
Tom Wilson earned 14 minutes in penalties which included a 10 minute misconduct. He was not kicked out of the game. Artemi Panarin did not return to finish the game with a lower-body injury and is now likely to miss the remainder of it.
Mika Zibanejad was asked about the Wilson incident after the game. “I figured you should have some more respect for the game and for the players,” he said. “I don’t honestly know where to start. It’s just there’s zero respect. I don’t know why I’m surprised, just horrible.”
Capitals deleted tweet was unsavory and added to controversy
Washington won the game 6-3 with none other than Tom Wilson getting the empty-netter. Then the Capitals social media account probably went a step too far with a tweet that seemed to revel in what should be a suspendible series of acts. After some sharp criticism, the Capitals deleted the tweet.
Per Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic, a Capitals official said “the tweet didn’t meet the team’s social media standards.” If the NHL Department of Player Safety doesn’t suspend Wilson that won’t meet many fans standards either.
NHL East action
While Wilson’s goon act is the talk of the hockey world today, the Penguins were handed a 7-2 defeat by the Flyers which allowed the Caps to jump into first place. The Islanders were also stunned by the Sabres 4-2 and by a 28 year-old goalie by the name of Michael Houser. It was his NHL debut and he made 34 saves to shock the Isles.
Finally, the Bruins officially clinched the playoffs as they shutout the Devils 3-0. Tuukka Rask stopped all 20 shots his way as the B’s are going into the post-season.