The NHL struck Tom Wilson with a $5,000 fine after his latest hit and some believe that’s not enough. The 27-year-old Capitals player was the origin of a tremendous, minute-long brawl on Monday, that erupted fan controversy. Many believe Wilson was let off the hook, and others say it wasn’t “a big deal.”
Lars Eller is one teammate that thinks the $5k fine is just enough for Wilson’s behavior, claiming the punch that launched a thousand kicks (seen clearly in the YouTube video) wasn’t a big deal. “What happened immediately after, Tom just kinda defended himself,” Lars Eller, a Capital’s center said. He “first tried to defend our goalie and then tried to defend himself with a guy on his back and another guy trying to fight him or whatever it was. It is what it is. It happens.”
Plenty of people don’t. “It is what it is,” and demand that the NHL take further action against Wilson. Calls for his suspension from the ice hit headlines Tuesday after the Monday night brawl went viral.
The incident happened during a Capitals vs. Rangers game. Tom Wilson, after nearing the goal, cross-checked Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head, before slamming him to the ice and punching his face.
The NHL Player Safety Twitter account explained that “Washington’s Tom Wilson has been fined $5,000” as punishment for starting the brawl, which had several players from both teams jumping, clawing, and punching on the ice. The fine is “the maximum allowable” fine “under the CBA,” which Wilson received for “roughing” Pavel Buchnevich from the NY Rangers.
Fans were divided on Twitter. Some said the NHL disappointed them with the lackluster fine, while others sought justice for Tom Wilson. “What happened yesterday is disgusting,” one Twitter user said. Another said that “this is so embarrassing, it almost makes me not want to watch hockey anymore. If someone like Tom Wilson can keep endangering athletes and refs on the ice and get slaps on the wrist for it, I’m not sure this is a league I can support anymore.”
Others weren’t upset by Wilson’s actions, claiming that it was just part of the sport. “That’s the right punishment,” someone else tweeted, “nowhere near a suspension.”
This wasn’t Wilson’s first time in the penalty box. He’s known for roughhousing on the ice and for breaking NHL rules. Wilson has sucker-punched his way through many games, most of which went undisciplined. He’s been suspended a total of five times by the NHL, starting back in 2017, which many believe was too little too late with the Capitals player.
Tom Wilson reportedly avoided punishment for years, despite hitting Brayden Schenn back in 2013. Wilson began facing the hammer the last few years but is still deemed untouchable by fans and opponents. From boarding opposing players to illegal checks, Wilson has had plenty of brush-ins with the dangerous side of hockey, putting people in danger of injuries throughout his career.
Some of Wilson’s enemies are NHL players, who have dealt with him on and off the ice. Mike Zibanejad was one Rangers player to throw shade Wilson’s way, saying that “I figured you should have some more respect for the game and for the players … it’s just horrible. Zero respect. I don’t know why I’m surprised”
Rangers coach David Quinn was also among debaters. He and thousands more called out Tom Wilson for his stunt, and insist that his actions deserve a heavier punishment than dishing out a merely $5,000. As it turns out, that’s what Wilson made for about 15 minutes in the game (or how long he spent in the penalty box).