The New York Rangers say they are "extremely disappointed" by the NHL's lack of suspension for Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and believe that George Parros, the head of league's Department of Player Safety, is "unfit to continue in his current role."
"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. 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 fined $5,000 on Tuesday for roughing Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich as part of a post-whistle scrum during the second period of the Capitals' 6-3 win on Monday.
The sum is the maximum allowed for the incident under the collective bargaining agreement, but Rangers feel the penalty is insufficient considering Wilson's actions in the fracas, during which he was also seen delivering a shot to the back of the head/neck area of Buchnevich while he was prone on the ice and later tossing a helmet-less Artemi Panarin to the ice.
Wilson was not disciplined for his takedown on Panarin.
"I just think it's a joke, to be honest with you," said Rangers forward Ryan Strome. "I know it's not my responsibility to make decisions, but I just can't believe that. I think it sends a bad message, in my opinion. I think everyone pretty much agrees with that. And I just think that the league missed one here big time."
This is Wilson's third fine in eight NHL seasons, and he has been suspended five times. The most recent suspension was seven games in March for boarding Boston Bruins defenceman Brandon Carlo.
Panarin has since been ruled out of the final three games of the season, including a rematch against the Capitals on Wednesday, with what the team called a lower-body injury stemming from the incident.
"To me, anybody in hockey — certainly everybody in our organization — is very disappointed," Rangers head coach David Quinn said.
"We certainly thought it warranted a suspension. We're just really disappointed. A line was crossed: Guy didn't have his helmet on, vulnerable, he got hurt. To me, it was an awful lot there to suspend him."
With files from The Associated Press