NHL

Line brawl erupts in opening seconds of Capitals' win over Rangers

It didn't take long for the New York Rangers to retaliate to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson's antics. A line brawl featuring all six forwards erupted on the ice in the opening seconds of the game Wednesday after Wilson injured Rangers leading scorer Artemi Panarin in Monday's contest.

Tom Wilson takes on Brendan Smith as 1 of 6 fights in opening period

A line brawl erupts off opening puck drop during a game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers on Wednesday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It didn't take long for the New York Rangers to retaliate to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson's antics.

A line brawl featuring all six forwards erupted on the ice in the opening seconds of the game Wednesday after Wilson injured Rangers leading scorer Artemi Panarin in Monday's contest.

WATCH | Line brawl to start Rangers-Capitals game:

All 6 starting forwards fight to open up the Capitals/Rangers game

5 months ago
1:40
All 6 starting forwards fight to open up the Capitals/Rangers gameAt puck drop of the Capitals/Rangers game, the starting forwards for both teams drop their gloves and fight. This is the first time the teams have faced each other since Monday's incident involving Washington forward Tom Wilson. 1:40

The Rangers organization took exception to the NHL opting not to suspend Wilson and instead levying a $5,000 US fine, the maximum allowable under the league's collective bargaining agreement.

The Capitals wound up beating the Rangers 4-2, with T.J. Oshie collecting a hat trick in his first game following the death of his father.

"We are trying to be there for him and take care of him and he ends up taking care of us," Nic Dowd said of Oshie who was surrounded in a giant group hug from teammates at the Capitals bench.

The opening three fights were only a sign of things to come, as three more broke out in the first period alone, including Wilson taking on Rangers defenceman Brendan Smith. Smith received an extra two-penalty for instigating the fight with Wilson, who was booed loudly every time he skated on the ice.

WATCH | Wilson fights Smith:

Capitals' Tom Wilson and Rangers' Brendan Smith square off early in 1st period

5 months ago
1:22
As soon as Washington forward Tom Wilson steps on the ice for his 1st shift of the game, New York defenceman Brendan Smith instigates a fight with Wilson. 1:22

"I think it was good. We were just trying to stick up for our teammate," Smith said. "It was a good response for sure."

In the second period, Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich was handed a game misconduct and five-minute major for cross-checking Capitals forward Anthony Mantha.

Wilson later left the game with an upper-body injury after piling up 14 penalty minutes. It was unclear when the injury occurred.

The penalty boxes were overflowing for both teams. At one point, there were six Capitals crammed into the visiting box.

The on-ice actions may not have been the only repercussions of Wilson's post-whistle takedown of a helmetless Panarin and punch to the back of Buchnevich's head.

WATCH | Buchnevich tossed for cross-checking Mantha:

Rangers' Buchnevich ejected for cross-check on Capitals' Mantha

5 months ago
0:41
New York forward Pavel Buchnevich received a major penalty and a game misconduct for cross-checking Washington forward Anthony Mantha. 0:41

The Rangers fired president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday, reportedly due to dissent over whether to release a team statement Tuesday targeting NHL senior vice-president of player safety George Parros for his inaction against Wilson.

"It's obviously a crazy day. You add in the anxiety or anticipation all day from our group, and then waking up from a pregame nap with the whole set of news," Rangers forward Ryan Strome said. "It's never easy, I think, in pro sports. It's a tough business."

The Rangers' statement called Wilson's behaviour a "horrifying act of violence."

"Wilson is a repeat offender with a long history of these type of acts and we find it shocking that the NHL and their Department of Player Safety failed to take the appropriate action and suspend him indefinitely," the Rangers said.

"Wilson's dangerous and reckless actions caused an injury to Artemi Panarin that will prevent him from playing again this season. We 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."

Wilson was given a double-minor penalty for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. The fine represents 0.12 per cent of Wilson's $4.1 million salary for this season.

WATCH | Oshie emotional after recording hat trick:

Capitals' T.J. Oshie scores hat trick in 1st game since father's death

5 months ago
1:38
In his first game since the death of his father, Washington's T.J. Oshie scores a hat trick in a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers. 1:38

With files from The Associated Press

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now