By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) – There isn’t much of a middle ground when it comes to Tom Wilson. Either you believe he gets under the skin of opponents and makes a valuable contribution to a top team (aka the Washington Capitals), or you believe he’s a nasty, cheap shot artist who should be out of the NHL (aka you’re all others). That’s how it’s been for a while, and it’s probably how it will be as long as Wilson plays in the NHL.
The Capitals’ social media team tried to tap into that controversy Monday night, after Wilson was in the midst of a brouhaha with the Rangers – a scrum in which Wilson used all his body weight to drive Pavel Buchnevic’s head into the ice, Buchnevic slammed as he lay face down on the ice, and later gave a gloved punch to Artemi Panarin, who was also on the ice.
It was ugly.
Let’s play how many games for Tom Wilson pic.twitter.com/KHR9i8FoxB
– Tim and friends (@timandfriends) May 4, 2021
Incorrect. Tugged on his hair, then hit his head on the ground. Slow-no video, look at Wilson’s left hand pic.twitter.com/CLT1t2blSm
Twitter did what Twitter does and reacted strongly to the fact that Wilson was Wilson. That part was not uncommon.
What used to be something unusual was the Capitals’ social media efforts to … troll the hockey world? Frankly not sure.
First, they tweeted a wry smile to agree with Wilson’s empty goal, which was normal hockey Twitter behavior.
– x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 4, 2021
But then the Capitals Twitter account tapped the third person to say, “atCapitals choose: violence.” The tweet then had a photo of Wilson insinuating that he lives rent-free in the minds of opponents. There was also a lot of sheeshing.
– Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) May 4, 2021
Not long after that … unique tweet came on the internet, it has been deleted.
Not everyone tweets a winner. pic.twitter.com/jG0l8t5OWy
– Matt Porter (@mattyports) May 4, 2021
Sure, there is some humor in any social media team using a ‘rent free’ meme, but then you have to get rid of it right away.
But the Rangers certainly didn’t find much humor in what Wilson did.
“I thought you should have a little more respect for the game and the players. I don’t even know, I really don’t know where to start, ”said Mika Zibanejad. ‘It’s just awful. No respect. I don’t know why I’m surprised. Yes, it was just awful. “
“There are lines that cannot be crossed in this game,” said Rangers head coach David Quinn. “For me it’s just zero respect for the game in general. You now have one of the star players in this league who could have been seriously, seriously injured in that incident. You just saw what happened. It happens to him over and over. It’s just not necessary at all. Hey, you all saw what happened. It’s like I said it’s just zero respect for the game, the players and everyone involved. “
New York May be a little exaggerated, if this New York Post’s Larry Brooks headline is any indication, “NHL should ban Tom Wilson for nearly killing Artemi Panarin.”
Keith Olbermann also wanted to call the police:
– Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) May 4, 2021
Maybe that’s one little a lot of.
But the point remains: Tom Wilson crossed a line or two and once again showed no respect for the welfare of his NHL brethren.
It is certainly a theme for Wilson. He was suspended for seven games in March for an unnecessarily high hit on Bruins defender Brandon Carlo, a hit that left Carlo concussed and out of the line-up for nearly a full month.
That was the fifth suspension in Wilson’s career, the worst of which was a 20-game suspension (which was reduced to 14 games on appeal) for a blow to the head of Oskar Sundqvist … In a preseason game.
Wilson clearly has a problem, and it has nothing to do with “rent-free” cartoon memes.
But just as he did after Wilson’s hit on Carlo, Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette downplayed what happened Monday night.
“I thought it was just a scrum, like physical play,” Laviolette said. “There was originally something going on with the goalkeeper, and they are jamming at the goalkeeper. We let a number of players jump in. It happens a lot. “
Panarin, who reportedly will now miss the rest of the season, probably feels different.
Obviously, the capitals are not sending Wilson to do anything else. His head coach defends him at every turn, and his team’s social media team did … whatever you call that tweet.
Unfortunately, the tweet did not live to see dawn. Tarik El-Bashir of the Athletic contacted the capitals, who simply said that “the tweet did not meet the team’s social media standards.” That’s … clearly not true, as the capitals tweeted. It was only after the intended result was received on Twitter that the message suddenly fell short of those standards.
Nonetheless, nothing is ever really “deleted” on the Internet, and this morning there will likely be some harsh conversations between the Capitals employees.
As for Wilson, it’s unclear if the league will do anything. Monday night’s action certainly doesn’t fit the box of dirty headshots, so we’ll see how the league views the particular incident. Wilson was shown no mercy for technically surviving the term limits of his “ repeat offender ” status in March, and with just four regular-season Capitals games left (and a potentially heated first-round matchup with the Bruins of the tap), any suspension would seemingly continue into the late season.
We will all see that. It is entirely possible that the NHL is not doing anything. Predicting the NHL’s player safety department remains a foolish game.
But suspension or no suspension, Wilson is making headlines – and is being pissed off by the team’s official Twitter account – for disrespecting opponents and delivering reckless shots while the entire hockey world is watching, keeps Wilson from now on to the show. season of the capitals will be under close scrutiny. ends. Deleting a bad tweet can’t change that.
You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @MichaelFhurley.
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