NHL fines Rangers $250K for publicly criticizing department of player safety

NHL insider Chris Johnston joins David Amber to walk us through the incident and the NHL Player Safety Department's decision to not suspend, but only fine Capitals bad boy Tom Wilson for his latest incident against Artemi Panarin and the Rangers.

The NHL has fined the New York Rangers $250,000 for public comments criticizing George Parros and the league’s department of player safety.

The discipline handed down follows a statement released by the Rangers Tuesday that criticized the league for opting not to suspend Capitals forward Tom Wilson for his role in a brawl that left star Rangers forward Artemi Panarin injured and sidelined for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

“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 team’s statement read. “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,” said a statement from the team.

“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.”

Wilson was handed a $5,000 fine by the league’s department of player safety for his actions in the team’s Monday night game, during which he was seen delivering a punch to the back of the head/neck area of New York’s Pavel Buchnevich while he was down on the ice and later throwing a helmet-less Panarin to the ice.

Many among the Rangers players and staff were publicly critical of the league for not handing more stiffer discipline to Wilson, who’s been fined twice and suspended five times already through his eight seasons in the league — his most recent suspension a seven-game ban in March for boarding Boston’s Brandon Carlo.

Per the statement issued by commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL Thursday, the league took exception to the “personal nature” of the Rangers’ criticism, particularly of Parros.

“Public comments of the nature issued by the Rangers that were personal in nature and demeaning of a League executive will not be tolerated,” Bettman’s statement read.

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

The $250,000 fine comes one day after the Rangers fired president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton, the club promoting Chris Drury to take over both roles moving forward.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.