“The first thing that comes to mind is what are you doing? What can you possibly be thinking?” Micheletti told Sportsnet 590 Tuesday morning when describing what was going through his mind as he watched Wilson rage.
The Washington forward started a scrum near his team’s net midway through the second period of a 6-3 Capitals win when he knocked down Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich to the ice and punched him in the head.
“He provoked the entire incident,” Micheletti said. “No one did anything except for him. And then to think that here are five players on the power play that are non-combatants and you want to hurt everybody that’s on the ice?”
Moments after punching Buchnevich, Wilson grabbed Artemi Panarin and ended up slamming the helmetless Rangers forward to the ice where his head made contact.
“He goes completely berserk and then the incident with Panarin – when you think of what possibly could’ve happened to Panarin with what he did, pulling his hair backwards and then slamming him to the ice. … He’s a complete bully that thinks he can play only the way that he decides to play without regards to rules or respect for the game or respect for players,” Micheletti said. “I don’t know if there is anybody other than Wilson that would do something like this.”
Wilson was assessed a 10-minute misconduct but returned later in the game and even scored an empty-netter to secure his team's win. Panarin did not return to the game.
Wilson was fined $5,000 for roughing Buchnevich, the league announced Tuesday morning, but there was no mention of what he did to Panarin.
“It was not a reaction to anybody provoking him,” Micheletti continued. "This was just him trying to be a complete bully and have no respect for the game or the players that were on the ice. … He doesn’t play the game anymore to provide room and space and protection for his teammates. He is playing a game to hurt people. Everything he said in the past about wanting to change (how he plays the game) it no longer holds any water. When he wants to, and someone’s in a vulnerable position, he wants to hurt that person.”
The 27-year-old has crossed the line many times in the eyes of the NHL, including in March when he was suspended seven games for a hit on Boston Bruins defenceman Brandon Carlo.
Wilson has been suspended for a total of 30 games across the pre-season, regular season and playoffs during his NHL career, forfeiting close to $1.3 million in salary.