Capitals, Rangers Open with Line Brawl in 1st Meeting Since Tom Wilson IncidentMay 5, 2021
It was inevitable.
The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals wasted no time getting into things Wednesday and had a line brawl right as the official went to drop the puck to start the game.
Sportsnet shared a look at the fallout:
That wasn't it, as Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith got into it with Tom Wilson almost as soon as the latter stepped onto the ice.
The fighting didn't stop there, as Dan Rosen of NHL.com noted Wilson and Kevin Rooney left the ice for the rest of the first period after they were each issued 10-minute misconduct penalties.
Washington announced Wilson was eventually ruled out for the rest of the game with an upper-body injury.
Wilson was the primary storyline coming into Wednesday's game, as he punched Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head when the Rangers forward was face down on the ice during Monday's game. New York also lost Artemi Panarin for the rest of the season when he was injured after Wilson flipped him onto the ice.
Much of the frustration from New York's side surely stemmed from the lack of significant punishment from the NHL.
The league announced it fined Wilson $5,000 for the incident, which was the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement. However, there was no suspension for the controversial Capitals forward.
That didn't sit well with the Rangers, who released a stunning statement that said they were "extremely disappointed that Capitals forward Tom Wilson was not suspended for his horrifying act of violence last night at Madison Square Garden."
The statement also said the Rangers "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."
This is nothing new for Wilson, who is known for his dirty hits and borderline play. He has been suspended five different times and is frankly fortunate to not have more suspensions throughout his career.
In the aftermath of this drama, the Rangers announced on Wednesday that they parted ways with president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton. Associate general manager Chris Drury will take over both roles.