The NHL’s Department of Player Safety suspended New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich for one game for high-sticking Washington Capitals forward Anthony Mantha during the second period of Wednesday night’s game.
The suspension comes on the heels of a $250,000 fine assessed to the Rangers for a statement calling for George Parros, the league’s head of player safety, to be fired for not suspending Washington winger Tom Wilson.
The sequence began Monday, when Wilson punched Buchnevich in the back of the head while he laid on the ice. Wilson’s punch set off a scrum, during which Wilson tossed New York star Artemi Panarin to the ice twice. Panarin suffered a lower-body injury during the fight and will miss the rest of the season — the Rangers have two games remaining.
The NHL fined Wilson $5,000 for roughing, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, but the Rangers felt Wilson got off much too light for a player with five previous suspensions in his career.
“Everybody in our organization is very disappointed,” New York coach David Quinn said Tuesday. “We certainly thought it warranted a suspension. We’re just really disappointed. A line was crossed: Guy didn’t have his helmet on, vulnerable, he got hurt. To me it was an awful lot there to suspend him.”
As a result, when Washington and New York met Wednesday, there were six fights in the first five minutes. And then in the second period, Buchnevich delivered a cross check to Mantha’s head, which warranted a five-minute major and a game misconduct call. The hit made Mantha bleed, but coach Peter Laviolette said he’d be fine after the “pretty vicious” hit.
As part of Buchnevich’s one-game suspension, he’ll forfeit $28,017.24. The money will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.