The NHL fined Tom Wilson $5K for a controversial incident (most prominently) also involving Rangers forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panarin. While that fine might leave the official Tom Wilson as “case closed,” it hasn’t ended all debates.
And with the Capitals and Rangers set to face off on Wednesday, the hockey world will keep an eye on any other fallout.
(Rangers – Capitals airs on NBCSN on Wednesday, with pre-game coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. Click here for the livestream link.)
It’s noteworthy that Panarin won’t play for the Rangers, as he’s out for the rest of the season.
Rangers others criticize Tom Wilson fine, non-suspension
Naturally, members of the Rangers shared the most interesting reactions to Tom Wilson getting fined, not suspended.
During post-game pressers, Rangers coach David Quinn remarked that Wilson crossed the line. Mika Zibanejad called the incident “horrible.”
Following word of a fine, not a suspension, for Wilson, Ryan Strome vented, as the AP’s Stephen Whyno and others report:
Full answer from Ryan Strome on Tom Wilson: pic.twitter.com/ThrMhdMNd0
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 4, 2021
“As players, you want the league to have your back in those situations, and I think a lot of guys in our dressing room just feel like they didn’t,” Stome also said, via Whyno.
[A history of Tom Wilson fines, suspensions, and other hits.]
Quinn noted that the Rangers were “disappointed” that Wilson only received a fine, stating that “to me, there was an awful lot there to suspend him.”
When asked about Wednesday’s game against the Capitals, Quinn, Strome, and others indicated that there won’t be a “brawling situation.”
On what he said to the team:
"We've talked about it as a team this morning. The fact is, we've got to protect each other. We've got to stick by each other, which is what we did last night. There's different ways to do it. The way we're built, it's not going to be…
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) May 4, 2021
Around the hockey world, many echoed the Rangers’ sentiments. As a former NHL enforcer, John Scott provided some of the most interesting criticism, being that he stated that he prefers a physical brand of hockey. Scott, too, believes that Wilson crossed a line — and paralleled Strome calling the fine “a joke.”
[MORE: Rangers statement criticizes Wilson fine, Parros as player safety head]
My thoughts on the Tom Wilson situation pic.twitter.com/GUbNfgV963
— John Scott (@johnscott_32) May 4, 2021
If there’s a point that should be a cause for concern, it’s Scott wondering if players (stars especially) are “fair game” during scrums. That’s something the NHL likely needs to address, especially since Artemi Panarin’s name didn’t come up in their announcement.
Capitals react, as well
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports that Capitals coach Peter Laviolette spoke with Wilson about the incident.
Laviolette on his chat with Wilson about Monday night: pic.twitter.com/rI3xF1HVPG
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) May 4, 2021
After the Capitals win, Lars Eller told 106.7 The Fan that he didn’t think the Wilson incident was “that big of a deal.”
Either way, the Capitals probably hope to move on as seamlessly as possible. On Monday night, Laviolette noted that they have “a lot on their plate.”
Along with the Wilson fine and fallout, the Capitals dealt with some off-ice matters, as both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov were scratched for being late to a team function. Alex Ovechkin‘s also dealing with lingering injury issues. (The latest update is that Ovechkin is unlikely to play on Wednesday.)
With the Capitals and Rangers closing out their season series on Wednesday, there’s room for drama — whether there’s “brawling” or not.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.