Washington’s Tom Wilson was fined $5,000 for roughing Pavel Buchnevich of the Rangers, who criticized the league’s handling of the incident and were fined $250,000 on Thursday. Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via AP

The New York Rangers in less than 72 hours lost their best player to injury, fired their president and general manager, and will likely see another player suspended. They are also out a quarter-million dollars in the latest chaotic chapter for the storied franchise.

The NHL fined the Rangers an extraodrinary $250,000 on Thursday for what Commissioner Gary Bettman called demeaning personal comments made publicly about head of player safety George Parros. It’s believed to be the largest publicly announced fine of its kind in NHL history.

“While we don’t expect our clubs to agree with every decision rendered by the department of player safety, the extent to which the Rangers expressed their disagreement was unacceptable,” Bettman said. “It is terribly unfair to question George Parros’ professionalism and dedication to his role and the department of player safety.”

The uproar dates to Monday, when Washington’s Tom Wilson was involved in a scrum against the Rangers that left New York star Artemi Panarin injured and unable to play the final three games of the season. Wilson was fined $5,000 for roughing against Pavel Buchnevich but not suspended, prompting the Rangers to issue a statement calling the decision a dereliction of duty and saying Parros was unfit to remain in his job.

“The New York Rangers are extremely disappointed that Capitals forward Tom Wilson was not suspended for his horrifying act of violence,” the team’s statement said. “Wilson is a repeat offender with a long history of these type of acts and we find it shocking that the NHL and their Department of Player Safety failed to take the appropriate action and suspend him indefinitely.”

No such suspension materialized, and Wilson was back on the ice with the Capitals against the Rangers on Wednesday night. The teams racked up a combined 141 penalty minutes in a fight-filled game, and their six fights were the most in league history in the opening five minutes of a game.

Buchnevich was thrown out for cross-checking Capitals forward Anthony Mantha in the second period and was suspended after a hearing for Thursday night’s game in Boston. Buchnevich will forfeit just over $28,000 as part of the suspension.

The Rangers have even bigger issues to address: Owner James Dolan abruptly fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday and turned those jobs over to former assistant Chris Drury.

Longtime hockey executive Glen Sather, a senior adviser to Dolan, is back to assist Drury in the transition. Sather said the team’s statement about Parros had “absolutely nothing” to do with Dolan’s decision to dump Davidson and Gorton.

Will Coach David Quinn be next out the door? That could be among the changes Drury contemplates in the coming days and weeks while he attempts to pick up the pieces after a tumultuous season that included kicking defenseman Tony DeAngelo off the team; coaches missing time with COVID-19; Panarin taking a leave of absence after a Russian tabloid printed allegations of abuse from a decade ago; and this week’s dramatic developments.

“We’re going to look at everything and try to figure out how best to take the next step forward,” Drury said. “It’s been well-documented everything the team has gone through on and off the ice, and we’re going to take a look at every aspect of the organization when things end and we’ll start that process next week.”

ANZE KOPITAR had an assist to reach 1,000 career points as the Los Angeles Kings eliminated the Arizona Coyotes from playoff contention with a 4-2 win Wednesday night.

“It’s definitely exciting/nerve-wracking,” Kopitar said. “I caught myself thinking about it a little too much and told myself to relax a little bit, play and just let it happen.”

Kopitar, who had a goal and an assist Monday, became the fourth Los Angeles player to reach 1,000 career points on Sean Walker’s empty-net goal.

“It’s incredible for him,” Kings Coach Todd McLellan said. “We’re along for the ride. I’m certainly proud of him, but it’s an honor to coach him. He’s the kind of person who makes everyone around him better.”

Kopitar joins Marcel Dionne (1,307), Luc Robitaille (1,154) and Dave Taylor (1,069) in the Kings’ 1,000-point club.

“I’m sure it’s going to set in in the coming days and weeks,” Kopitar said. “This one is a little different than 1,000 games where it kind of builds then happens. This one just kind of hits you.”


PENGUINS 8, SABRES 4: Jeff Carter scored a career-high four goals and host Pittsburgh moved back into first place in the crowded East Division.

The 36-year-old Carter, acquired from Los Angeles at the trade deadline, beat Michael Houser three times in the first 25 minutes for his first hat trick since March 28, 2018. He added his fourth with a pretty backhander – the 398th of his career – early in the third period that put the Sabres away.

The four-goal performance was the first by a Penguin since Chris Kunitz did it in a victory over Washington on Feb. 3, 2013.

Jared McCann had a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh. Biddeford’s Brian Dumoulin, Sidney Crosby and Kasperi Kapanen also scored.

Drake Caggulia scored twice for Buffalo, and Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner added goals.

MAPLE LEAFS 5, CANADIENS 2: Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 40th goal of the season to help Toronto beat visiting Montreal.

Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist, Alex Galchenyuk and Pierre Engvall also scored and Jack Campbell made 20 saves. Campbell improved to 16-2-2, giving him the most wins by Toronto goalie through 20 games in a season.

Cole Caufield and Artturi Lehkonen scored for Montreal.

DEVILS 2, ISLANDERS 1: Michael McLeod scored the tie-breaking goal late in the second period, Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 32 shots and visiting New Jersey beat playoff-bound New York for its fifth win in six games.

Pavel Zacha also scored for the Devils. They beat the Islanders for just the second time in seven meetings this season.

Anthony Beauvillier scored on a fortunate deflection for the Islanders.

BLACKHAWKS 2, HURRICANES 1: Alex DeBrincat beat Petr Mrazek at 2:02 of overtime and visiting Chicago beat NHL-leading Carolina to salvage the final game of a three-game set.

Collin Delia made 36 saves for the Blackhawks. They were eliminated from postseason contention Monday and gave up 11 goals in the first two losses to the Hurricanes.

Riley Stillman’ scored his first NHL goal for Chicago. Martin Necas scored a short-handed goal for the Hurricanes.

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