By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Capitals forward Tom Wilson is at the center of a familiar place this week, sitting amid some major controversy that he generated with his own on-ice behavior.READ MORE: Yankees Sweep, Beat Red Sox 6-3 To Take AL Wild-Card Lead
The New York Rangers let their opinion be known with a statement that expressed outrage at George Parros — the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety — for not suspending Wilson for driving Pavel Buchnevic’s head into the ice and then slamming a helmet-less Artemi Panarin into the ice, leaving Panarin injured and out for the remainder of the season.
Wilson has been suspended five times in his career, and he’s only been back for about six weeks since his most recent seven-game suspension.
But apparently, Parros didn’t even want to issue that suspension, which came as a result of Wilson’s hit on Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo.
“Parros, we’ve heard, didn’t even want to suspend Wilson for the brain-damaging assault on Boston’s Brandon Carlo, who suffered mood changes and blurry vision from his concussion after being hospitalized by Wilson in March,” The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello reported.READ MORE: Tom Brady Will (Almost Certainly) Set NFL's Passing Yards Record Vs. Patriots In Foxboro
The on-ice officials huddled that night in early March after Carlo was helped to the bench, but they determined that no penalty had been committed. As noted, that hit sent Carlo to the hospital. The 24-year-old missed 10 games due to the effects of the concussion he suffered in the hit. He returned to play for just four periods before suffering another injury that kept him out for another month.
According to Carpiniello, it was NHL commissioner Gary Bettman who overruled Parros on the decision to suspend Wilson.
“Bettman didn’t like the optics and ordered a suspension. So Wilson got seven games,” Carpiniello wrote. “Before that, he wasn’t even considered a repeat offender, because the CBA erases priors after a certain period of time transpires.”
The Rangers issued a statement on Tuesday evening, which accused Parros of being unfit for his role as the head of discipline in the NHL.
“We view this is a dereliction of duty by NHL head of player safety, George Parros, and believe he is unfit to continue in his current role,” the Rangers said.MORE NEWS: Patriots Teammates Stung By James White's Injury: 'Kind Of Makes Your Heart Jump A Little Bit To Your Stomach'
While opinions vary on whether Wilson earned a suspension for his role in the fracas with the Rangers this week, Wilson’s status as a repeat offender is a matter that surely factors in considerably to such evaluations. Yet according to that one report, Wilson wouldn’t even be a repeat offender if Parros had the final say.