New York Rangers coach David Quinn said the NHL has "lines that can't be crossed" in reference to altercations involving Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson and Rangers wingers Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich in Monday's 6-3 loss.
Wilson initially swung at Buchnevich while the Rangers right wing was face-down on the ice. That drew the ire of Panarin, who got into a scuffle with Wilson that involved Wilson taking a helmet-less Panarin down to the ice twice.
Panarin exited with a lower-body injury, and Quinn told reporters the 29-year-old Russian "could've got seriously, seriously hurt."
Mika Zibanejad echoed his coach's thoughts:
Wilson was assessed a two-minute roughing penalty and a 10-minute misconduct penalty for his role in the incident. He remained in the game and scored Washington's final goal at the 18:34 mark of the third period.
The Athletic's Tarik El-Bashir noted Wilson has already amassed almost $1.3 million in fines and missed 30 games due to suspensions. Most recently, he was out for seven games because of a hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo along the boards.
Upon returning to the ice, the 27-year-old signaled a desire to rein in his aggression.
"At the end of the day, it can’t happen," he told reporters. "I can’t be missing seven games. I can’t be missing one game. I’ve got to be in the lineup."
That Wilson is a repeat offender could lead the NHL to hand down a more significant punishment than his seven-game ban. The Capitals have four games left in the regular season, so his availability for the playoffs could be in jeopardy.
Asked about the consequences Wilson should face, Quinn said it wasn't his decision to make but that the NHL has "been dealing with this for a while."