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Capitals’ Tom Wilson speaks out on controversial incident vs Rangers

Capitals, Tom Wilson

Washington Capitals wing Tom Wilson is pushing back on the notion he did anything malicious after being involved in a high-profile incident in a game against the New York Rangers.

Wilson spoke to the media Friday for the first time since receiving a 10-minute misconduct for punching Rangers wing Pavel Buchnevich and slamming Artemi Panarin to the ice.

The Capitals enforcer said he was merely protecting his goalie after Buchnevich rushed the net:

“Their guy goes to our net and kicks at our goalie and goes in there with his stick,” Wilson said, via TMZ.

“At a young age in hockey, you’re taught to stand up for your goalie, so that’s what I was doing.”

As for the slam, Wilson stated he was reacting to Panarin apparently jumping on his back:

“I think anybody’s first reaction would try to be just to throw them off you and wrestle them down to the ice,” Wilson said, per TMZ. “And, that’s what I thought about it at the time.”

The eight-year veteran went on to call it a “fairly routine hockey scrum.” The Rangers hardly agreed.

New York was incensed after the NHL decided not to suspend Wilson for the incident during the Capitals-Rangers game. The anger led to a line brawl between the two teams as soon as the puck dropped Wednesday night.

Wilson did say he reached out to Panarin to express regret about how the situation played out. But hockey fans really shouldn’t be all that surprised by his mindset.

The Capitals veteran leads the NHL in penalty minutes and has been in the top three in that category in four other seasons.