When you do something reckless in an NHL game and Matt Cooke isn’t on your side, you know you’ve gone too far — Tom Wilson, step right up.
The Washington Capitals chucklehead has been widely criticized for his actions Monday against the New York Rangers, which included punching Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head and bodyslamming a helmetless Artemi Panarin to the ice.
And in an interview with The Athletic, Cooke, who most notably ended the career of Marc Savard with a predatory hit, admitted Wilson went too far.
Here is an excerpt:
“(Wilson) looked like a toddler having a fit with this last one. To me, what he did has nothing to do with hockey. This becomes about respect for your opponents and the ability to control emotions within a scenario. This last instance sheds a negative light on Tom Wilson that actually has nothing to do with the game. And I think that’s what a lot of people have the biggest problem with about this last one.
“You know, he’s been given a bit of leeway just because, you know, when hits happen within a game, they’re gonna go wrong. They just are. The game is played way too fast for them not to, right?
“But this one — there’s a whistle for an altercation and he continued to get in the altercation even after guys jumped in, and he continued to go after the next guy. To me, this isn’t looking a guy in the face and standing up for yourself. This is somewhat predatory.“
Again, this is the same Matt Cooke who is best known for ending a career.
Wilson only was fined $5,000 for roughing (which was for the punch to Buchnevich), a punishment that has been criticized quite a bit, too — though the league reportedly had its reasons for not going the suspension route.
And while Wilson is getting chastised all around, the league and his team continue to enable him, so there’s no signs of this nonsense stopping anytime soon.
The Rangers will have their chance to get their pound of flesh Wednesday when the Caps and Blueshirts meet again.