Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson says his attack on Rangers players earlier this week was completely justified … insisting all he was trying to do was defend his goalie.
The 27-year-old explained the situation in his first meeting with media members since Monday night’s drama … saying New York players started it all when they messed with Caps goaltender Vitek Vanecek.
“Their guy goes to our net and kicks at our goalie and goes in there with his stick,” Wilson said.
“At a young age in hockey, you’re taught to stand up for your goalie, so that’s what I was doing.”
Wilson then explained he violently took down Rangers star Artemi Panarin because he claims the dude just straight up jumped on his back in an aggressive way.
“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. “And that’s what I thought about it at the time.”
Wilson added he believed it all to be a “fairly routine hockey scrum.”
Seemed the NHL agreed, ’cause Wilson was NOT suspended and was only hit with a $5,000 fine … which enraged the Rangers, who called the punishment complete B.S.
In fact, they were so upset with it … when the two teams met again on Wednesday night, NY players could not stop going after the Capitals — inciting brawls seconds after the puck dropped.
The two teams fought so much, Wilson was ultimately forced out of the game due to injury.
Wilson — who appeared to be contrite about the whole situation at his news conference Friday — did say he personally reached out to Panarin after the incident, and is glad he’s doing better.
The Rangers, meanwhile, paid a $250,000 fine for blasting the NHL’s head of player safety, George Parros, in a scathing statement after Wilson’s punishment was announced.
Both sides, thankfully and finally, now appear ready to move on.