We all love to criticize NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and sometimes, fans go over the top, but in this case, this is from an insider, and he is right on the money.
On Monday night, the chaotic scene that took place between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers was not as bad as what happened the next morning which resulted in Washington Capitals’ forward Tom Wilson only getting a $5,000 fine for punching New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head while he was facedown on the ice, while also throwing star Artemi Panarin to the ice in the ensuing scrum.
Fans have been quite vocal on how they treat Wilson, but finally, François Gagnon, an insider from RDS in Montreal, called out another culprit here : Bettman himself.
Gagnon believes that once Wilson was sent to the penalty box for punching Buchnevich in the back of the head, and then throwing Panarin to the ice in the ensuing scrum, and acted like King Kong in a cage, Bettman should have picked up the phone, called deputy commissioner Bill Daly to make sure he would communicate with George Parros of the NHL Player Safety to let him know they were handling this matter.
After all, we’re talking about a guy who was suspended for seven games in March for a hit that injured Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. It was the fifth suspension of Wilson’s NHL career, the previous four coming in a 105-game span from 2017-18, which included a 20-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Oskar Sundqvist of the St. Louis Blues back on Oct. 3, 2018, which was reduced to 14 games on an NHLPA appeal.
Gagnon adds that Wilson has not only humiliated himself, but his entire team, the Rangers and the NHL, and that Bettman should not stand for it. This is how Gagnon puts it, translated from French:
“As a commissioner, Bettman could have and should have defended not only the players involved but also the image and reputation of the league.”
On Tuesday, the Rangers surprised everyone when they put out a statement on the NHL’s decision following Monday’s incidents in the game against the Washington Capitals. On Monday night, the chaotic scene that took place between the Capitals and Rangers was not as bad as what happened the next morning which resulted in Capitals’ forward Tom Wilson only getting a $5,000 for punching New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head while he was facedown on the ice, while also throwing star Artemi Panarin to the ice in the ensuing scrum. The Rangers demand that the NHL fire the head of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety George Parros, who failed to suspend indefinitely a repeat offender like Wilson.
Gagnon would love to see the NHL bring in Wilson to suspend him, however, Bettman missed a huge opportunity to get things straight in his league. Gagnon believes it is not too late for the commissioner to interfere and hopes that by throwing him under the bus, he will react and review this ridiculous fine.
Will Bettman do it, now that’s THE question.