‘Gutless terrible hockey:’ Former tough guy John Scott rips NHL for only fining Capitals’ Tom Wilson
NHL 

John Scott, a former NHL tough guy, says he used to respect Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for his on-the-edge physical style.

But Scott said Wilson "crossed the line" Monday night with the "gutless terrible hockey" that precipitated a brawl against the New York Rangers and led to a season-ending injury to star Artemi Panarin.

Scott was even more shocked that Wilson, who has a long history of disciplinary action, received only a $5,000 fine Tuesday from the NHL's Department of Player Safety.

"What on earth is happening with the NHL right now?" Scott said. "(League disciplinarian) George Parros completely dropped the ball, he dropped his drawers, he dropped everything.

My thoughts on the Tom Wilson situation pic.twitter.com/GUbNfgV963

"It was a joke of a fine. Listen, I love this kind of hockey, I think we all do, but what Tom did, there’s no excuse for that. It’s insane to me that he only got a $5,000 fine."

The brawl began after Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek made a save and players began shoving one another. Wilson punched a prone Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head, the infraction that was cited for the fine, then later body-slammed Panarin to the ice, causing the forward to miss the rest of the game with a lower-body injury.

Tom Wilson punches a prone Pavel Buchnevich to touch off a fracas, then flex in the penalty box (r @DanMyers) pic.twitter.com/6p8B9TVckV

Wilson received two roughing penalties and a 10-minute misconduct.

"Shame on you, NHL, you should have (done) something to protect Panarin," said Scott, who has 36 NHL fights and several suspensions to his name during an eight-year NHL career, "and shame on Wilson, you ought to know better."

Wilson was suspended for seven games earlier this season for a hit that caused Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo to spend a night in the hospital. During the 2018-19 preseason, he was suspended 20 games, though it was reduced to 14 upon a review by an independent arbitrator, for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist. That marked his fourth suspension in 105 games.

Scott was concerned about the precedent that the NHL was sending to other players by levying only a fine.

"What this means, it’s fair game, baby, in any scrum," he said, adding, "If you go into a scrum anywhere on the ice and you see a star player, I’m throwing sucker punches, I’m grabbing this guy, I’m twisting ankles, I’m doing whatever I can because the worst thing that’s going to happen to me is a $5,000 (fine) because I don’t see anyone doing more than what Tom Wilson did to Panarin."

The fine means Wilson will be available to play in Wednesday's game against the Rangers, and their team is unhappy with the league's response.

"Anybody in hockey, and certainly everybody in our organization, is very disappointed," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "A line was crossed. (Panarin) didn’t have his helmet on. He was vulnerable and he got hurt. To me, there was an awful lot there to suspend him."

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