NHL fines Rangers $250K for ‘demeaning’ comments

The NHL fined the New York Rangers $250,000 on Thursday for publicly criticizing George Parros, the league’s head of player safety, earlier this week.

“Public comments of the nature issued by the Rangers that were personal in nature and demeaning of a League executive will not be tolerated,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “While we don’t expect our Clubs to agree with every decision rendered by the Department of Player Safety, the extent to which the Rangers expressed their disagreement was unacceptable. It is terribly unfair to question George Parros’ professionalism and dedication to his role and the Department of Player Safety.”

The Rangers issued a statement Tuesday calling Parros “unfit to continue in his current role” after the league failed to suspend Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for his actions Monday night.

Wilson was fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement, for roughing Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich during the Capitals’ 6-3 win Monday night at Madison Square Garden. New York star Artemi Panarin suffered a lower-body injury during the ensuing melee and will miss the rest of the season, but Wilson was not punished for that.

Tom Wilson
Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson, who has been suspended five times previously, was in the lineup when the Capitals and Rangers squared off again Wednesday night. The teams engaged in a skirmish right at the opening whistle and several more in the first period. Wilson, who racked up 15 penalty minutes, subsequently was ruled out for the rest of the game due to an upper-body injury. Washington won the game, 4-2.

The $250,000 fine adds to a turbulent week for the Rangers, who fired president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday and promoted associate GM Chris Drury to fill both roles.

“We want to thank JD and Jeff for their contributions to the organization,” owner James Dolan said in a statement. “However, in order for the team to succeed in the manner our fans deserve, there needs to be a change in leadership.”

The Rangers (26-22-6, 58 points) have been eliminated from playoff contention and have two games remaining at Boston on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)