Wilson was heavily criticized for slamming Pavel Buchnevich to the ice in a game against the New York Rangers earlier this week. In the same game, just moments after barreling over Buchnevich, he pulled Artemi Panarin to the ice, forcing the Rangers to rule him out for the remainder of the season.
Tom Wilson gets a 10-minute misconduct for punching Buchnevich in the head on the ground and body slamming Panarin pic.twitter.com/fg2HRej8yD— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 4, 2021
Wilson was hit with a mere $5,000 fine for his actions. The Rangers called out the NHL and the head of the Department of Player Safety, George Parros, for not suspending Wilson, who has a history of dirty play resulting in harm.
After the second game between the two sides resulted in a line brawl off the first-period face-off, and things continued to get chippy throughout the game, the Capitals ruled Wilson out with an upper-body injury, though no one believes he was actually injured.
Wilson addressed the situation for the first time on Friday. According to The Washington Post:
"After the play, I would have never thought that all this would have blown up," Wilson said, describing the scrum publicly for the first time on Friday. "It seemed [like a] fairly routine hockey scrum to me and I think that was kind of the feeling from both players in the box, and then obviously it took on a new life after the game."
Wilson added that he was just standing up for his goaltender and his "first reaction" was to "wrestle" the players going after him to the ice.
"Their guy goes to our net and kicks at our goalie and goes in there with his stick," Wilson said. "At a young age in hockey, you're taught to stand up for your goalie, so that's what I was doing. From there, you have guys jumping on your back and I think anybody's first reaction would try just to throw them off you and wrestle them down to the ice. That's what I thought about it at the time."
Wilson has been suspended five times in his eight-year NHL career, including once earlier this season. He was suspended seven games for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo in March.
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said Tuesday that he had a discussion with Wilson about the fracas with the Rangers, saying he needs to be more careful in scrums because he's such a "big, strong" player, per The Washington Post.